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The Benefits of Exercise

Authored By: Lonna Battles on 1/25/2022

Exercise is a good thing, yet even though we all know that, many of us still find it hard to stick to a routine. But once you fit it into your schedule, it will become a habit. That is if you go beyond fitting it into your schedule and actually do it. Speaking of routine, you may want to read my post titled: “How to Create a Daily Routine in 5 Steps.” If you’re one who has a difficult time building a new routine it could be the kickstart you need. In this post we will discuss why exercise is beneficial to your health and well-being and all the ways that it affects us both mentally and physically. Exercise doesn’t require going to a gym daily. Open your mind, and your exercise routine to include things you truly enjoy. Remember, dancing, walking, cycling, swimming… just getting your body moving qualifies as exercise.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Exercise reduces your risk of heart disease. It does this by increasing your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good cholesterol and reducing your unhealthy triglycerides. In combination, these two factors decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, exercise makes your heart muscle stronger and more resilient.

Lift Your Mood

Regular physical activity can lift your mood! Exercise increases the production of endorphins, which produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain. Physical exercise also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin – all brain chemicals which play a large part in regulating mood. An increase in serotonin boosts your mood and can be effective when dealing with depression. When people talk about their “runner’s high” this is what they’re talking about.

Energy Boost

Exercise boosts your energy levels.  With regular exercise, your heart moves oxygen into the blood, making your muscles more efficient. When you exercise, your body produces more mitochondria (the powerhouse of cells), which increases your body's energy supply. You’ll soon find yourself more energized and you may not need that cup of coffee in the afternoon.

Improve Sleep

Studies have shown that moderate exercise can help improve the time it takes to fall asleep and the amount of sleep you are able to get. According to John Hopkins Medicine, moderate aerobic exercise increase the slow wave sleep you get - slow wave refers to deep sleep. This provides time for the body and mind to rejuvenate. But "timing is everything" - for some individuals, exercising before going to bed is not encouraged since exercise releases endorphins - w which may keep you awake. 

Control Weight

This may seem obvious but exercise can help you control your weight and prevent obesity, especially when paired with a good diet. The goal is to burn more calories than you are taking in daily. Take into consideration, some people need to be more active than others to lose weight – dependent on your metabolism. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t lose weight immediately. In general, we all have the metabolism we have, and that can’t be changed much, but we all have the ability to do something we enjoy to burn more calories in a day. Interested in reading more about metabolism and how that sets the tone for the amount of activity needed to impact weight loss? This article from the Washington Post provides some interesting information.  

In Conclusion:

The key to staying active is finding something that you enjoy doing and changing it up if it's not working for you. Being active with friends can help you stay honest. Schedule a daily walk, run, or swim with a friend. Have a regular dance off with one of your kids (think TikTok and maybe they'll be interested!). I have found that a workout buddy keeps me accountable and motivated. Set small goals and reward yourself when the goals are met. I would also recommend including your activity in your daily schedule, just like brushing your teeth. Now that you know some advantages of working out, it's time to build that schedule and get moving! 


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