Five Healthy Benefits of Exercise

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Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but you may not realize just how much good it actually does for your body, mind and mood. Check out these five top health benefits you get when you add regular exercise to your daily routine.

Defeat Diabetes

Diabetes has become distressingly common adults of all ages. Once confined mostly to adults above the age of 40, the age of onset has dipped lower and lower. These days, there are a growing number of adolescents diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, a weight loss of as few as 10 pounds can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may delay the onset of diabetes even in those who are already diagnosed as pre-diabetic. In addition, several studies have shown that people who increase their physical activity also reduce the risk of diabetes even when they don’t reach their weight loss goals.

Slow Aging

A 2010 study at the University of California – San Francisco found that women who exercised vigorously for at least 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging than those of women who didn’t exercise. The researchers concluded that exercise, which releases stress-fighting hormones like norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine, can help slow aging by reducing the harmful effects of stress.

Fight Depression

Vigorous exercise at least three times a week can fight depression as effectively as antidepressants. Researchers believe the reason may be that exercise stimulates growth in areas of the brain damaged by depression. In addition, animal studies have shown that physical activity increases the production of brain molecules that improve connections between brain cells. The improved communication may help reduce depression.

Get Smarter

A German study found that students who did a complicated fitness routine for ten minutes before a learning task scored better on high-attention tasks than those who did regular activities. Physical exertion boosts the communication between brain cells, say researchers, and complicated physical activities seem to provide a bigger boost.

Improve Self Esteem and Body Image

Weight loss will certainly help improve your self-esteem and body image, but even if you don’t lose weight, exercise and physical activity can help you feel better about yourself. Seeing improvements in your performance – running a faster mile or doing more reps in a workout – is a sure boost to self-esteem and will make you like your body better.

In short, exercising regularly can make you smarter, more attentive, happier and younger. Why pass up those benefits when it’s so easy to get physical?


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