Exercise: The Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

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Are you trying to lose weight, are you looking for ways to improve your quality of sleep or enhance your mood, do you want to work on your overall health or do you just want to feel better...well if you answered yes to any one of those questions...have you tried exercise? Yes, that is right regular exercise can help us reach all of the aforementioned goals and more...here are the top five benefits of exercise.

Exercise controls weight - If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, exercise can help. Exercise helps us burn calories, and if we burn more calories than we take in via exercise we can lose and maintain a healthy weight.

Why is it important to maintain a healthy weight?

It is important to maintain a healthy weight because excess weight and obesity can lead to: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, erectile dysfunction and death.

Exercise promotes sleep - Regular exercise can be one of the most effective ways for us to overcome sleep problems. It can help us fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and feel more rejuvenated when we wake up.

Exercise can improve mood - Exercise stimulates the release of brain chemicals which promote relaxation and improve overall mood.

Exercise can increase energy levels - It may sound counterintuitive but exercise can actually help us feel more energized throughout the day.

How?

Exercise can improve everyday fatigue in two ways.

First, exercise promotes the release of endorphins, a group of brain chemicals that affect mood, into our bloodstreams. These endorphins can leave us feeling more energized and less fatigued throughout the day.

Secondly, regular exercise can improve our overall strength and stamina. Once our overall strength and stamina are improved we won't tire as easily and therefore won't feel as consistently fatigued.

Exercise can improve our overall heath - Think about it, if we are maintaining a healthy weight, sleeping better and feeling better...then in the long run our overall health will be improved. Furthermore, regular exercise can improve our heart health as well as aid in the prevention of such chronic conditions as diabetes.

How much exercise should we do per week to receive the aforementioned health benefits?

Most research indicates the health benefits of exercise can be achieved with thirty minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Does that mean we have to do intense gym workouts for thirty minutes straight?

No, any type of aerobic exercise counts. Walking, swimming, bike riding, jogging or anything else we like to do that gets us moving around can be counted as exercise. Even better, research shows we can spread the recommended thirty minutes of exercise out throughout the day - meaning three ten minute walks spread out over the course of the entire day can be counted as daily exercise. Whether we are trying to maintain or improve our health, exercise can help and dramatically impact our current and future well-being.

About the Author

Dr Marc Macera's picture
Author: Dr Marc Macera

Hello, my name is Dr. Macera, PharmD, RPh. I am a clinical pharmacist with over a decade of experience practicing and studying at such institutions as: Harvard University, Northeastern University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I hope to both educate and inform through compelling blog posts.