In a vague way, you might know that being physically active is good for you. You know it's better to move around and exercise regularly than to spend all day sitting down. But what do you know about the benefits of physical activity and what it can do for you?
Being physically active is good not just for your physical health but also for your mental health. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. That's at least the intensity of a brisk walk or a bike ride, but you can also do something more intense if you prefer hiking or pumping iron at the gym.
Please look at these top benefits of regular physical activity to see why it's essential to stay active in any way you can.
1. Boost your mood
You might think of physical activity as something that keeps you physically healthy. But regular exercise is also great for your mood and mental health. Exercise has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. By exercising regularly, you can improve your brain's ability to handle stress and anxiety. Exercising also produces endorphins, which help create positive feelings and even reduce pain. Even light exercise can be great for your mood.
2. Regulate your weight
Exercise is one of the tools you have to help you regulate your weight. It can help you to lose weight or to maintain your weight, especially when you also combine exercise with a healthy diet. The more you exercise, the more calories you burn. You will generally lose weight if you burn more calories than you eat. Eating as many calories as you burn will help you maintain your current health. In fact, it's better to exercise regularly than to go on a short-term diet.
3. Get strong
When you exercise regularly, it's good for your bones and muscles. Both muscles and bones can get stronger and maintain their strength when you enjoy physical activity regularly. There are many different ways to move your body that will help you to build muscle. You don't have to lift weights or spend hours in the gym, although that's a great way to get strong. High-impact sports might also help to promote bone density.
4. Maintain balance and flexibility
As you get older, two of the most important fitness metrics can be your balance and flexibility. Think about how much these two things can affect your everyday life, from being able to move around to bending down, sitting down, getting up again, reaching for something, and more. Many types of exercise can specifically help you target these two things, including yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. Other activities will also include movements that improve these areas of fitness.
5. Keep your heart healthy
Regular exercise helps to keep your heart healthy. It reduces cardiovascular risk factors, so regular exercise can lower your chances of developing heart disease. Exercise is also an essential form of therapy for anyone who has cardiovascular disease. You can lower your blood pressure by exercising regularly too. Plus, it can reduce your "bad" cholesterol and increase your "good" cholesterol. Aerobic (cardio) exercise gets your blood pumping and can be especially good for your cardiovascular system, but any exercise can help to keep your heart healthy.
6. Increase your energy levels
It might seem backward, but exercising more could give you more energy. When you're more active, you can find that you have higher energy levels compared to living a more sedentary lifestyle. People with certain health conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, can find it especially useful to exercise regularly to boost their energy levels. Your heart and lungs benefit from exercise, and when they're healthy, they help deliver more oxygen to your muscles and other body parts.
7. Reduce your risk of disease
You can reduce your risk of chronic disease by exercising more regularly. As well as keeping your heart healthy, you could lower your risk of various health problems. Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes may be lower, and exercise can help to control diabetes too. Regular exercise can reduce your cancer risk, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
8. Improve your brain health
If you want to take care of your brain health, physical activity can help you do that too. Increasing your heart rate helps to deliver oxygen to your brain more effectively. It also helps to stimulate the production of hormones that enhance brain growth. Exercise has been shown to increase the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that's important for memory and learning. This might help older adults to improve their brain function, which is especially important
9. Get better sleep
Regular exercise can help you to sleep better. The energy loss during exercise stimulates restorative processes when you sleep, so your sleep quality is better. You get good sleep that helps your body heal and recover, and sleeping well can also help you control your weight. Studies have also shown that physical activity can improve sleep quality for people with insomnia and improve the ability to get back to sleep after waking up and sleep duration.
10. Feel less pain
You can reduce chronic pain through regular physical activity. Studies have shown that it is often better for people with chronic pain to try and move more rather than using rest and inactivity to treat their pain. Exercise can also help to raise pain tolerance and decrease pain perception so that you feel painless.
Regular exercise delivers some fantastic benefits. It doesn't take much to start exercising more often, and moderate exercise is extremely good for you. Start exercising more, and you could be healthier and happier.