Decades ago scientist learned that people who remain fit through physical activity are far less likely to have heart disease. Now we know that heart protection is just one of the many benefits of regular exercise.
The best form of exercise for overall fitness is the heart-pumping, aerobic kind. Pick 1 or 2 activities like brisk walking, swimming or stationary cycling that you can do nonstop for 20 to 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week. Exercise at a pace that moderately elevates your heart and breathing rates.
This type of exercise can increase your ability to use oxygen, build stamina and control weight. You don't have to invest a lot of time and effort before you see the rewards. And there are many...
A lengthy review by the centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people who exercise aerobically (meaning "with oxygen") on a regular basis and reduce their risk of heart attack by as much as 50%. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart pumping action and helps control your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
Colon cancer is at least 50% more common in people who lead sedentary (low-activity) lives. While more study is needed, exercise shows the potential for reducing the risks of prostate cancer in men and cancers of the breast and reproductive system in women.
When bones don't get enough work, they adjust by getting weaker and thinner, leading to osteoporosis. Daily vigorous weight-bearing exercise like stair-climbing, walking or low-impact aerobic dancing is helpful in slowing the loss of bone density and strength.
Daily vigorous activity prevents weight gain by raising your metabolism (calorie-burning rate). It's also the best way to trim excess body fat.
If you're worried about changes in metabolism that might trigger weight gain, exercise is a natural antidote.
If Americans exercised more they could prevent 25% of all cases of Type II diabetes, the most common form, concluded a 1992 Harvard study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Other research has found that the more active people are, the lower their risk of Type II diabetes. Exercise helps control other diabetic factors including weight, circulation and blood sugar.
If you become easily stressed and down-hearted, remember that exercise serves as a healthy release for anger, frustration and anxiety. Exercise appears to help chronically depressed people gain optimism (due to changes in the body's biochemistry).
Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain which needs more oxygen to function than any other organ in the body. People of all ages who get regular heart-pumping exercise show improved memory, increased ability to learn and concentrate, and enhanced creativity.
To be fit and feel great as the years roll by, regular exercise the closest thing to an anti-aging pill, say longevity experts. All of the effects listed here, and many others are convincing... Exercise gives you the energy and strength to carry you through your daily routine - with plenty left to explore new interests and enjoy life.
If you are unaccustomed to regular exercise, check with your primary care provider before increasing your level of physical activity.