The benefits of regular exercise are many. Yet, the amounts of adults who actually participate in physical fitness activities are abysmal. Just look at these statistics from 2009, compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which shows the percentages of adults who met the guidelines of specific types of exercises:
• Aerobics: 47%
• Muscle-strengthening: 22.4%
• Aerobic and muscle-strengthening: 18.8%
As you can see, less than 50% of adults participate in any type of physical fitness activities. That’s a shame, because there are so many benefits of regular exercise. Here are just a few of them:
Exercise burns calories which will help you lose pounds or maintain your weight. How much physical activity do you need for weight control purposes? It may surprise you that you don’t have to run a marathon. Although the intensity of your workout affects your calorie burn, studies have shown that even a moderately-paced exercise program is effective (as long as it’s done regularly). In addition, studies indicate that any type of physical activity helps control your weight. So get out there and move.
Studies have shown that the benefits of regular exercise include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, two precursors to heart disease. In addition, aerobic activities strengthen the heart muscles, which also improves cardiovascular health. But that’s not all. Regular exercise has also been shown to prevent or improve diabetes, stroke, arthritis—even some cancers!
Exercise has been shown to have a mood-lifting effect. Many studies have proven that physical fitness activities encourage the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain. This results in lessened stress and reduced depression.
Studies have shown that exercise helps strengthen your heart and lungs, making them work more efficiently. The result is a boost in energy. (If you don’t believe this, take a 15 or 30 minute walk on the treadmill when you’re tired. It will immediately energize you).
Putting it into Practice.
As you can see, the benefits of regular exercise are far-reaching. If you want to become or stay healthy, therefore, you should increase your physical activity level.
For optimum health, experts recommend that you practice at least 30 minutes of aerobic activities at least three days per week. In addition, you should practice the muscle-strengthening variety 2-3 times per week.
But don’t overdo it. Start out slowly—perhaps 10 minutes at a time—and then gradually work your way up to 30 minutes.
If you follow these tips, you should soon experience the benefits of regular exercise.