How Exercise Can Add Years to Your Life - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on October 21, 2015

How Exercise Can Add Years to Your Life

Despite exercise and physical activity’s health benefits, physical inactivity is a major issue.

Engaging in regular exercise can lower your
risk of stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes,
depression and certain types of cancer.

Some people love exercise and some people hate it. Regardless of whether you enjoy it or view it as a chore, science and research have proven over and over again that it’s necessary for your overall health.

Despite exercise and physical activity’s health benefits, physical inactivity is a major issue – it’s the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, causing 3.2 million deaths globally per year. In fact, there have been studies that have found that a lack of exercise is as deadly as smoking.

Exercise and physical activity aren’t only about looking fit and healthy – they also play a vital role in feeling good and adding years to your life. Here’s why:

Exercise Controls Your Weight

Being overweight or obese are risk factors for a litany of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more. Exercise is one of the best ways to lose weight, prevent weight gain and to maintain weight loss. Engaging in physical activity burns calories; and the more intense the physical activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t just have to go to a gym for physical activity – you can get more active during your normal daily routine by taking the stairs, parking farther away and revving up your chores around the house.

It Improves Your Mood

If you’re feeling down or had a stressful day at the office, try working out for just 30 minutes. Getting active stimulates chemicals in your brain that can help you relax and feel happier. Exercising regularly may also make you feel better about your appearance, which can improve your confidence and self-esteem.

Physical Activity Boosts Your Energy

Ever feel winded taking a flight of stairs? Regular exercise may fix that – it can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Physical activity and exercise deliver nutrients and oxygen to tissues throughout your body and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Building up the strength of your heart and lungs will help them work more efficiently, helping you conquer those stairs with breath to spare.

It May Help You Sleep Better

If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, physical activity may help. Making time for a regular dose of exercise can help you fall asleep faster in addition to deepening your sleep. Just be careful about what time of day you exercise – physical activity too close to your bed time may make you too energized to fall asleep.

It Could Be Fun

If exercise is something new to you, try out different forms of exercise or activities to find one you enjoy. If you are having fun, you’ll want to keep going back for more. Exercise can help you unwind, clear your mind from the day’s stressors and connect you with new friends in a fun social way. Go hiking, join a soccer or basketball team, whatever you enjoy and doesn’t leave you feeling bored.

Exercise Combats Diseases and Health Conditions

When it comes to heart disease and high blood pressure, exercise is one remedy – it boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides, or fat, in your blood. Increasing your good cholesterol and lowering your bad fats decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Engaging in regular exercise can also lower your risk of stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, depression and certain types of cancer. Physical activity can also help you manage certain conditions like diabetes, metabolic syndrome and arthritis. It can also improve your strength, balance and flexibility to prevent slips and falls.

The American Heart Association recommends getting 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days per week. Those 30 minutes per day can also be split up in to three 10-minute sessions if that fits better into your schedule. Just remember that if it’s been a while since you’ve worked out, check with your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.

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