By Elana B. Multi award-winning writer, advertiser, speaker, and internationally published author
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Do you want to feel better, look better, have more energy, and keep yourself healthy? Then you need exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Exercise can prevent weight gain or help maintain weight or weight loss. Exercise also is a building block of a healthy body. In general, those who exercise feel better and suffer from fewer health problems. Even those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes can manage their conditions better with exercise. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. It’s a no brainer that if you burn more calories than you take in, you will begin to melt body fat. And the benefits of exercise are yours regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Not only will you look and feel better, you will improve your heart and cardiovascular system. Need more convincing? Check out these 8 ways exercise can improve your life.
1. Paying attention to calories helps control weight
Many strategies, including but not limited to exercising regularly, can help you control your weight. At the basics of weight control is calorie intake. When you consume too many calories, your body’s source of energy, the extra energy is stored by the body as “body fat.” You can burn those extra stores of energy by reducing your caloric intake. However, do not over compensate. Starving yourself, or reducing too many of your daily calories has a yo-yo effect and can actually contribute to weight gain. Simply eat fewer calories and up your exercise. If you consistently reduce your caloric intake, you will eventually notice significant weight loss.
For example, a daily reduction of 500 calories should trigger a loss of 1 pound over the course of a week. If you live a sedentary life and just walk thirty minutes a day, you should start losing weight. If you are one of those people who say you started walking and are regularly exercising (30 minutes a day 4 days a week) and still gain weight, unless you are cheating and eating starchy carbs, sugary foods and drinks, any weight gain should be muscle. If that’s the case, you are losing inches. Bodies don’t always look better with less weight. Check out weight lifters. They generally weigh more, but their bodies are streamlined, toned with great definition and muscles. This does not mean you have to workout like a weightlifter. Just moderate exercise and good eating habits really does pay off.
2. Exercise helps with weight loss
If you don’t like the idea of cutting your calorie intake dramatically, exercise can be your best bud when it comes to weight control. Exercise requires energy, so by exercising you will increase your daily caloric needs. Raising your calorie needs means that you can also eat more calories and still be at a reduced rate because you are burning more than you take in. So…if you exercise enough, you may not have to cut back on your usual caloric intake. Additionally, exercise helps you build muscle, which boosts your metabolism and enables you to burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. It should be noted; however, that if you up your caloric intake with too much sugar, and carbohydrates in the form of potatoes, pasta and other starchy or fried foods, you probably won’t see any weight loss and you might store more fat. So if you need to eat more to sustain your workouts, do so but make sure that what you eat is healthy and nutritious.
You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do between a 30-60 minute work-out, try and get more active throughout the day. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or speed up your housework by putting on some upbeat music and add a little dancing to your chores.
3. Exercise helps maintain health, fight health conditions, and disease
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and high blood pressure.
4. Exercise boosts brainpower
Not only does exercise improve your body, it helps your mental function, says certified trainer Mike Strip, a personal trainer in Orange County, CA.
Exercise increases energy levels and increases serotonin in the brain, which leads to improved mental clarity. If someone spends just an hour a day, four days a week, he has contributed to a significant rise in serotonin levels, which can help with improved memory and productivity. Bottom line, better productivity makes for a better work environment and reduces wasted hours while helping minimize illness and wasted sick-time. Overall, for companies this means lower overall healthcare costs and a better functioning company.
5. Exercise helps reduce stress and improve mood
As much as it may stress-you-out just to think about exercising, once you actually start working out, you should experience less stress in every part of your life.
Exercise helps elevate the mood, as mentioned with serotonin levels, but it also produces a relaxation response and helps reduce depression. Another added benefit of exercise is that with less stress, you’re less irritable, and that can help improve relationships with your partner, kids and co-workers.
6. Exercise boosts energy
Winded by walking up a couple flights of stairs or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and internal organs and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy. This makes you more productive and able to handle more tasks on a daily basis.
7. Exercise promotes better sleep
Are you an insomniac? Or do you struggle to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep. You should never exercise within three hours of going to sleep. If you are someone who exercises regularly, but still is an insomniac, you may want to check with your physician or a naturopathic doctor. According to Joanna Papatsani, Golden Wings Wellness Center in San Diego, CA, sometimes an imbalance in your serotonin/melatonin levels alter sleep patterns making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
8. Sex life okay? Exercise can improve your sex life
Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. Want a definite positive? Enhanced endurance can definitely put a sparkle in your partner’s eyes. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise. Bottom line: more energy, more play time. More play time, more fun time, which creates more happiness. When you are happy, you are more flirtatious with your partner. We all know what happens when you flirt with your mate…exercise will probably help you hit that sweet spot more often.
9. Exercise can be fun
Exercise and physical activity out in nature can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family and friends in a fun, social setting. So try out some sports with family and friends, take hikes together, join a couple’s out door Tai Chi class, yoga, or join a work or community sports team. Find a physical activity you enjoy and just do it. If you are a couch potato, get a treadmill and put your television on the wall in front of it. Let the projected image of nature inspire you. No matter what, get off your tush and move. You will be glad you did it.
The bottom line…
Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain overall better health and have fun. As a general goal for better health, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. For weight loss, try for one-hour a day four times a week and on those three days off…walk for twenty to thirty minutes. On your one-hour workout days, remember that you do not need to exercise sixty minutes at a time. Break it up into twice a day if you have to. Just do it.
Remember, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, or if you have any health concerns.The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling.
About the author: Elana B. is a multi award-winning writer, advertiser, speaker, and internationally published author. As a writer and ghostwriter she has written hundreds of stories from books to shorts to screenplays.
A gifted storyteller, Elana B.’s new children’s series, Too Terribly Busy and the “Too Terribly” Series of books, teach in a fun, creative way some of the most important lessons in life. Through this entertaining series of books, children will learn morals, manners, how important it is to achieve goals, as well as conflict resolution. Sneak peek of the first story in the new series: TooTerriblyBusy-SP1.
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