10 Facts to Get You Moving

By: CHRISTINA COLAVECCHIA

1. Exercise eases symptoms of depression and anxiety


Physical activity encourages the brain to release neurotransmitters and endorphins, ‘feel-good’ chemicals that help to ease depression.  Exercising on a regular basis also reduces chemicals in the immune system, which can worsen depression, and increase body temperature, which can have calming effects on the body.


2. Exercise can improve your mood

When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that work together to make you feel good.  Intense aerobics increase the release of these chemicals, and exercises like yoga, which focus on stretching and breathing, help to reduce tension and stress.

3. Exercise helps prevent and control diabetes

Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose by the body.  Blood sugar is the highest in the body immediately after eating when the sugars travel into the intestines from the blood stream.  The only places the sugars can be stored are in the muscles and the liver.  When the muscles are not exercised, they retain the sugars. On the other hand, when the muscles are exercised and in shape, they empty their stored sugars.  Exercising, then, also has the ability to prevent diabetes.

4. Exercise lowers cholesterol

High cholesterol is increasingly becoming an area of concern for young adults.  Exercise stimulates enzymes that help move low-density lipoprotein (LDP), the kind of lipoprotein that is linked to heart disease, from the blood to the liver.  From there the LDP is safely excreted; the more you exercise, the more LDP your body can expel. Exercise also increases the size of protein particles that carry cholesterol through the body.  The larger the particles, the easier it is for cholesterol to safely and efficiently move through the body.

5. Exercise helps build strong bones

Bones are living tissues that become stronger with exercise.  Young men and women who exercise regularly achieve greater peak bone mass, which is important during old age when bone mass begins to decrease. The best kinds of activity for healthy bones are weight-bearing exercises that promote new bone growth and improve bone strength. Try lifting weights, hiking or playing tennis.

6. Exercise improves sleep

Staying active helps improve sleep patterns and makes you feel more awake during the day.  Exercise causes body temperatures to rise significantly.  As the temperature begins to decrease, the body begins to feel tired.  Simply raising your heart rate and body temperature for 20 to 30 minutes a day, a few times a week can help you sleep longer and sounder.

7. Exercise relieves stress

Exercise can decrease stress hormones, like cortisol, and increase endorphins, the body’s ‘feel good’ chemicals.  Physically active people have less extreme physiological responses when under pressure.  Fit people, then, are more capable of handling long-term effects of stress and pressure.

8. Exercise makes you look good

Exercise does wonders for your physical appearance.  Exercise improves circulation and makes your skin look great.  Sweating during exercise can help clean your pores, eliminating toxins from your system.  Exercise tones and sculpts your muscles and keeps your weight in check.

9. Exercise prevents heart disease and high blood pressure

Exercise lowers blood pressure, which reduces strain on the heart.  It improves circulation by preventing blood clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.  Aerobic activities that target large groups of muscles like swimming, running or cycling are the best exercises for a healthy heart.

10. Exercise improves brain health

Blood flow to the brain increases during exercise.  Like the body’s tissues, the neurons of the brain need glucose for fuel and stimulation.  Increased blood flow to the brain brings with it more oxygen and nutrients, improving the neurons in the brain and its ability to function.  Exercise helps keep the brain sharp and aware.

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Categories: Home, Sections, Your Fitness, Your Lifestyle

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