Recently, 10,000 of us are reaching the age of “retirement” each day of the year. I don’t know about you, but I’m not even considering “retiring” until I have accomplished all that I set out to do! So what can we do to feel better, have more energy and perhaps live longer? We really don’t have to look any further than old-fashioned exercise.
From preventing chronic health conditions to boosting confidence and self-esteem, the merits of exercise are difficult to ignore. These health benefits, regardless of age or gender include:
- Exercising improves your mood – Exercise has been shown to stimulate various brain chemicals, which may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You’ll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Exercise even reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. It’s those endorphins that everyone talks about. It may take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least three to five days a week to significantly improve symptoms of depression.
- Longevity – People who are physically active live longer. Regular exercise reduces the risk of dying prematurely according to a 20 year follow-up study.
- Exercise helps battle chronic diseases – Regular exercise can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol while decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries. Exercise itself does not burn off cholesterol like it does with fat, but does influence your HDL- and LDL-cholesterol levels.Also regular exercise can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer according to scientific studies. In addition, regular exercising makes your heart, like any other muscle, stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. There are scientific studies that show that moderate physical activity combined with weight loss and balanced diet can confer a 50-60% reduction in risk of developing diabetes.
- Sleep better at night – daily exercise can make the difference if you suffer from poor sleep at night. The natural dip in body temperature five to six hours after exercise may help to fall asleep. And late afternoon workouts help too.
- Muscle strength – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that strength training increases muscle strength and mass and decreases fat tissue.
- Bone strength – An active lifestyle benefits bone density. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation, delays bone loss and may protect against osteoporosis – form of bone loss associated with aging.
- Weight management – This one’s a no-brainer. When you exercise, you burn calories. The more intensely you exercise, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. It doesn’t take an intense workout to accomplish this as activity throughout the day helps too. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk to do your errands, if possible.
- Exercise also strengthens your heart and lungs – Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular exercise helps your entire cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you’ll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.
- Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life – Are you too tired to have sex? Or feeling too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Exercise to the rescue. Regular exercise can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. Exercise improves your circulation, which can lead to more satisfying sex. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise, especially as they get older.
- Exercise can be fun?? – Exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Ride a bicycle. Walk in your neighborhood or plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, it counts! Remember, you don’t have to find the same kind of workout that the Olympic Athletes use!
And don’t forget, start out slowly if you haven’t been in a routine recently, and take the proper supplements before and after exercise to prevent the Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS that can occur when you start a new routine.