The Health Benefits of ExerciseCredit:

Ever wondered why you should exercise? Read this and discover the top 10 reasons to exercise, either moderately or intensely.

Health Benefits of Exercise

Physical work outs are beneficial in more ways than one but most times, we find we can’t commit to them, not just because we don’t know the benefits but because we’re lazy or too busy. I’m in that category (as my exercise regimen does not go beyond a short walk daily but I want to exercise more) and to motivate me, I checked up reasons why people should exercise. I present 10 of such reasons in this article. Please note that these reasons were not made up by me, rather, they’re the results of scientific researches and reviews conducted over the years.

Reason No 1: Exercise Improves Your Mood

Need some excitement and adrenalin in your life? Then get a 30-minute work out at the gym or around the house. You’ll be lifted emotionally as regular exercise leads to an increased release of endorphins in the body. These chemicals will fight depression and make you feel happy. The body releases these endorphins just 12 minutes into the workout.

Aside endorphins, the body releases a chemical known as serotonin during and after a workout.  The increased levels of this chemical in the central nervous system is connected with feelings of well-being and decreased mental depression. Serotinin can also make you sleep better at night. Overall, regular exercise can boost your confidence, improve your self-esteem and make you feel better about your appearance and yourself.

Reason No 2: Aerobic Exercise Boosts Brain Power

It is interesting to note that aside the body, the brain benefits from physical activity. This is according to a review published online in the Springer publication Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (December 2012 edition). In the new review, Hayley Guiney and Liana Machado from the University of Otago, New Zealand, examined the role physical work outs play in keeping and potentially improving brain power throughout life. At the end of the day, they concluded that regular exercise can be beneficial to the brains even in old age.

Reason No 3: Exercise Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

This is a good one for women. In June 2012, a new analysis indicated that women can reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer through regular exercise (whether mild or intense and before or after menopause) and proper weight management. It went on to say that substantial weight gain can work against this benefit of exercise. Published online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, these findings support a mounting pool of evidence that exercise has many health benefits.

Reason No 4: Exercise Reduces Risk of Premature Death

In July 2012, a new study by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Cambridge University and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden concluded that light or moderate physical work outs can reduce the risk of premature death.

The study, published by the International Journal of Epidemiology, was a breakthrough study as it indicated that you don’t have to be an exercise freak to live long. And that just walking and cycling can be of huge benefits, even though more physically active persons stand to benefit more.

Reason No 5: Exercise Reduces Risk of Stroke for Men

In November 2009, a study revealed that physical workouts reduce the risk of stroke for men. According to the study published in the November 24, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, the men who consistently take part in moderate-to-heavy intensity exercise (like jogging, tennis or swimming) may be less likely to have a stroke than people who get no exercise or only light exercise (like golfing, walking or bowling).

Reason No 6: Exercise Improves Sleep Patterns

Suffering from insomnia and don’t know what to do about it? Join the 30-minute physical workout bandwagon and you’ll be able to sleep afterwards. This is according to a study, authored by Giselle S. Passos, of Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, in June 2008. Passos examined 36 patients (eight men and 28 women) with primary chronic insomnia, who were divided into three experimental groups (moderate aerobic exercise, heavy aerobic exercise, and moderate strength exercise) and a control group. At the end of the exercise, he said the result points to the fact that there is a way to reduce the symptoms of sleeplessness without using drugs.

Reason No 7: Exercise Reduces Type 2 Diabetes Risk

If you’re a man and you do weight training regularly (five days per week, without exceptions) an August 2012 study says you may be able to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by upto 34% or  59% (if you combine weight training and aerobic exercises like brisk walking or running).

Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Southern Denmark researchers conducted the investigation, which was the first study to examine the role of weight training in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. The study was published online in Archives of Internal Medicine on August 6, 2012.

Reason No 8: Exercise Sustains Weight Loss

If you want to burn fat, get into your exercise gear and eat healthy, as an October 2012 study (published online in Obesity), indicates that a combination of physical workouts and healthy eating burns body fat and preserves muscle in adults better than diet alone. The research was funded and conducted by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The formula for weight loss is simple: burn more calories than you consume through food and you'll lose weight.  When you exercise, you burn more calories than when you don't.  It's really simple - the more you exercise, the more weight or fat you'll burn.

Reason No 9: Exercise Improves Sexual Virility

If you feel too tired or out of shape to enjoy sexual intimacy, regular exercise can leave you feeling energized and looking better, a situation which would affect your sexual life positively. But there's more to it. Regular physical activity can lead to improved sexual stimulation for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than men who don't.

Reason No 10: Exercise Boosts Your Energy

Do you get tired easily? Put on your exercise gear as regular physical workouts can boost your endurance and perk up your muscle strength. Exercise and physical activity transport oxygen and nutrients to your body tissues and keep your cardiovascular system in tip-top condition. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.

Bonus Reason: Exercise Strengthens the Immune System and Prevents the Occurrence of Several Ailments

The risk of having Psoriasis, a heart attack and arthritis are greatly reduced by exercise. Exercise also improves breathing and keeps the bones strong, while maintaining an excellent immune system. Intending cigarette quitters can also use exercise to stop smoking.

Summary and Action Takeaway

Now that you know the benefits of exercise, you can decide to exercise for at least 30 minutes daily (without any exceptions). Plus, you don’t have to feel like doing it; personal discipline and self-will has a part to play here. But, before you start any exercise regimen, please consult your doctor to make sure you’re fit. Finally, I think exercise is best done in the mornings when you're still fresh for the day. But, if you're the type that detests leaving the house for exercise, consider having a trainer at home. You can get an ideal elliptical trainer on Amazon for less than you can ever imagine. I highly recommend the Confidence Fitness 2-in-1 Elliptical Trainer below. It can function both as a bike and an elliptical machine. And for a little over a hundred dollars, I think it's a good buy because similar machines cost $299 and above.

Confidence Fitness 2-in-1 Elliptical Trainer with Seat
Amazon Price: $239.99 $139.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 10, 2013)
With the Confidence Fitness 2-in-1 Elliptical Trainer, you can enjoy a total physical workout in the confines of your home. Like I earlier said, this machine functions both as an elliptical cross trainer and exercise bike. A whole family can use it (regardless of ability level) and get a low-impact cardiovascular workout that is five times as efficient as walking.