Exercise is mandatory for health. It keeps your heart and lungs at their optimum health. It prevents obesity and muscle atrophy. It boosts your immunity levels. It helps you lose weight. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Your bones and muscles are stronger. You have better endurance, for sports and the bedroom. Your blood pressure goes down.
These are common knowledge, and even common sense. But exercise has plenty of extra, hidden benefits that makes it all the more important for all ages, and makes you so much more ready to enjoy and pursue life.
1. Exercise protects against Parkinson’s and dementia. Plenty of research and studies have proven that aerobic exercise has a protective effect on the brain. Exercise keeps the brain active, and like muscles always used, the brain doesn’t shrink or weaken.
2. Exercise keeps your brain young. The more challenging your workout, the more your brain is challenged. This activates growth-stimulating proteins that make new cells. You think it’s just your body– but your mental muscle is getting “training” too!
3. Exercise decreases your risk of injury from falls. If you’re still young– you’re building up strength to aid you later in life. If you’re already older, good news: exercise gives you balance, and your bones are not brittle.
4. Exercise makes you better at your career. Leadership seminars talk about ‘sustainability:’ The ability to deliver under pressure, and to keep delivering great results in a long period of time. To do that, you take care of yourself. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins fill you with motivation and energy. You’ll find yourself climbing ladders. You work hard– but you’re not conscious of the effort or struggle to stay awake or keep your focus– which brings you to #5.
5. Exercising makes you smarter. You’re a quick study. You have great focus. A nice boost in blood and oxygen flow to the brain has that natural side-effect.
6. Exercise reduces your risk for cancer. Among 14,800 women studied, those with high levels of aerobic fitness were 55% less at risk of breast cancer than their sedentary peers. Exercise also protects against endometrial, lung, and ovarian cancer, according to research.
7. Your wounds heal faster. All those physical and immune benefits in a bunch means you heal 10 days faster than non-exercisers.
8. You sleep better. It’s a wonderful cycle of challenging your body and your body resting to recover, while your brain, circulatory, respiratory and lymphatic systems reap so many benefits.
9. Exercise = happy hormones. Ever wondered why those trainers on Youtube look so perky all the time? Exercise contributes to good mood. You feel great. Your threshold for anger is higher. You’re more tolerant of drivers who cut you off. You’re patient when your food takes too long. You just laugh when your kids make a mess. You see life on the side of wonder.
10. You live longer. All of 1 to 9 above leads to maximum health and vigor as you age.
“Exercise can be used like a vaccine to prevent disease and a medication to treat disease. If there were a drug with the same benefits as exercise, it would instantly be the standard of care.” – Dr. Robert Sallis, co-director of sports medicine at Fontana Medical Center in California.
Start small. Beginning is already half the victory. Do cardio, aerobic or a mix of aerobic and strength training activities, and aim for 3 to 5 times a week, 30 to 60 minutes. It doesn’t have to be one straight session. 5-minute or 10-minute bursts of activity is enough.
The good news is even smaller levels of exercise than that is already healthy!