Exercising for Health: Benefits of an Active Lifestyle

family exercising in their backyard

Exercise isn’t just about looking good. Though it’s certainly a perk that could influence your decision to start a workout routine, it is only one of the countless benefits of exercising.
So, why should you bother getting your body moving? Here’s a look at how regular physical activity can improve your health in various ways.

Boosts Brain Health

One of the most surprising benefits of physical activity is its impact on brain health. According to studies, exercise has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and improve cognitive function in adults by 8% to 15%.

Regular exercise increases the levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes the growth of new nerve cells and the maintenance of existing ones. These cells help to protect the brain against age-related decline and improve memory and learning capacity.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your mind sharp as you age, hitting the gym or spending time moving around could be the answer.

Improves Weight Management

Your weight could affect your health in more ways than you might think. Obesity puts you at a higher risk for developing chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

Physical activity helps to manage weight by balancing calorie intake with energy expenditure. For weight loss, experts recommend that adults engage in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. These can be brisk walking or riding a bike.

To maintain a healthy weight, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week. If 30 minutes seems too much all at once, consider breaking it into shorter 10-minute increments throughout the day. And remember, even light activities like standing or walking around the house count.

No matter how you choose to get active, what matters is that you keep your body mass index within a healthy range. You can calculate your BMI using an online calculator or talking to your doctor. This way, you know about your current weight status and whether you need to make any changes.

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Reduces Stress

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed from time to time. But if stress starts to interfere with your daily life, it could lead to serious health problems.

Exercise is a natural way to reduce stress. When you’re active, your body releases endorphins or hormones that block pain signals from the brain and have mood-boosting effects. That’s why for some people, exercise is an excellent routine meditation. It allows you to focus on your body and how it feels as you move rather than your stressors.

By proactively adding physical activity as a part of your routine, you could help your body manage stress more effectively in the short and long term.

Help Control and Fight Cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 alone. While there’s no sure way to prevent cancer, research suggests that maintaining a healthy lifestyle could play a role in cancer prevention and control.

A 2017 study showed that being physically active was associated with a lower risk of 13 types of cancer. The list included several common cancers like breast, colon, and endometrial cancer. It’s not precisely clear how exercise protects against cancer, but scientists believe that it might have something to do with the impact of physical activity on hormones and inflammation.

Many healthcare providers suggest exercise and lifestyle changes as a part of cancer prevention and treatment plans. An alternative cancer treatment center can give you more information on incorporating exercise into your life. Doing so may help you manage your cancer risk and improve your quality of life.

Makes Daily Chores Much More Bearable

Of course, physical activity isn’t only about improving your health. It can also make some of the more challenging tasks in life a bit easier.

For example, being active on your days off could help you stay energized and avoid burnout if you have a physically demanding job. Or, if you’re caring for young children or older adults, regular exercise could help improve your strength and make it easier to keep up with little ones or lift heavier objects.

Regular physical activity can also increase your stamina, giving you more energy to get through your day-to-day tasks. With enough stamina, you may even enjoy some of the more challenging tasks you once dreaded.

There are countless reasons to make physical activity a part of your daily routine; the above are only a few. So get moving today and enjoy all the benefits that come with it. And before long, you may find yourself reaping the many benefits of an active lifestyle.

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