Exercise. We all know it's important, and yet we struggle to find the time in our busy schedules to do it. Between work, family, social lives and perhaps a little bit of sleep in between, it's hard to see just where exercise fits in.
The Department of Human Health and Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. While it was previously thought that you needed a minimum of 20-30 minutes of continuous exercise in order for it to be effective, recent research indicates that as little as 10 minutes of consecutive aerobic activity can have significant health benefits. This means that it can be much easier to fit in those 150 minutes of exercise into your week.
When you are able to achieve 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week, you'll see significant health benefits.
Diet and exercise are the two main ingredients to proper weight control, so if you can exercise regularly, you're halfway there!
Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and improves blood circulation, which in turn raises the oxygen levels in your body. This can help lower the risk of heart disease, including high cholesterol, heart attack and coronary artery disease. Regular exercise can also lower your blood pressure.
Exercise can help your body manage its blood sugar and insulin levels, making it excellent for people with diabetes as well as those who want to prevent it.
Fitness author Bill Philips famously wrote, “Food is the most widely abused anti-anxiety drug in America, and exercise is the most potent yet underutilized antidepressant.” Indeed, exercise has been shown to ease the symptoms of depression (though if you are depressed you should seek professional medical help). When you exercise, your body releases “happy hormones,” or endorphins, which can elevate your mood and also relieve stress and anxiety.
People who perform aerobic exercise regularly can benefit from strong bones and muscles. It is extremely important to start when you're young so that you'll be able to combat loss of bone density and muscle mass as you age.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of certain cancers, including lung, uterine, breast and colon.
Exercise not only helps take your mind off smoking, but it actually reduces nicotine withdrawal symptoms. A win-win situation.
Exercise can improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep. Physical activity increases the time you spend in deep sleep, which means you can wake up more refreshed. It also helps you feel more tired at the end of the day so that you end up falling asleep easier. Since exercise also reduces stress, it's especially good for people who have trouble falling asleep due to stress.
When you exercise for a sustained period (six months or more), the volume of selected regions in your brain can actually increase. New research even indicates that one single bout of exercise can change the way our brains function. Exercise also helps your memory indirectly since it helps you sleep better and decreases stress, both of which are known to affect memory.
Another Benefit of Regular ExerciseIt may be hard to find the time to exercise, but once you understand the many benefits, it's easy to see how it's really a form of self-care. When you are able to care for yourself so completely, the entire quality of your life can improve. In fact, exercise is number one on the list of things that increase your quality of life, or QL5.
When you rate high on the QL5 scale, you not only enjoy a high quality of life, but you also get better life insurance rates. So you see, there is really no downside to regular exercise.