The Health Benefits of Exercise
10 Amazing Benefits of Exercise
Exercise Boosts Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you know that exercise should be an essential part of your routine. But the benefits of physical activity go far beyond just physical fitness. Increasingly, more and more research is showing that working out regularly can boost other aspects of your health as well, including cognitive function and emotional well-being.
A regular fitness routine has been shown to have a wide-range of positive health effects, such as a lower risk of cancer and stroke, better cardiovascular health, stronger muscles, and slowing of bone density loss associated with age.
Exercise has also been linked to better brain health and emotional well-being. And a study published in the journal Circulation found that exercise, even without weight loss, may help you live longer.
Here’s how Christopher Berger, PhD, CSCS, an exercise physiologist and clinical assistant professor at Arizona State University in Pheonix, sums it up: “Everything improves with exercise.”
And perhaps one of the best new findings about exercise — especially if you, like many people, struggle to find the time to fit it into a busy day — is that all those benefits of physical activity can be had even if you only squeeze in a few minutes of exercise a day. While doctors used to think that we needed to engage in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day, new research is finding that we can see benefits with shorter bursts of physical activity. “As little as 15 minutes a day of high-intensity activity that leaves you breathless, like swimming, can kick start your metabolic rate and reduce body fat and increase muscle mass,” says Dr. Berger.
In a widely-cited , researchers at Oregon State University looked at more than 6,000 American adults and found that even small amounts of physical activity — like pacing while talking on the phone or doing some jumping jacks during commercials while watching TV, as long as these short bursts of exercise add up to 30 minutes a day — can be just as beneficial as longer workout sessions at the gym.
And you don’t need to sweat buckets to see the benefits of exercise, either. According to the physical activity guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise with two days of strength training per week yields the same health benefits as 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise with two days of strength training each week — as does a combination of moderate- and high-intensity exercise, plus two strength training workouts.
So what are some of the many ways exercise can benefit your health? Read on to learn about 10 health reasons to break a sweat today.
With additional reporting by Katherine Lee.
Video: Health Benefits of Exercise
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