We’ve long been told that exercise is good for us yet many people still avoid it like the plague. Even just engaging in light activity can prevent several diseases and improve the symptoms if you already suffer from one, including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
The Obesity Factor
Let’s face it; most people workout to look good and lose weight. While our motivation may be a little warped and on the superficial side, wanting to maintain a healthy body weight IS a great reason to exercise. Obesity has been linked to dozens of medical conditions and is one of the leading causes of preventable death. So as nice as it is to look good, keeping your weight down is also a matter of life and death.
How it Prevents Disease
Along with lowering your risk of disease by helping you to reach and maintain a healthy weight; exercise can also keep your stress levels down and boost your immune system. It improves your lung function and circulation, which in turn is better for your heart. Speaking of your heart, exercise also helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and keep arteries flexible.
Several studies have found that exercise decreases the levels of chemicals that are responsible for inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer, diabetes, lupus, as well as arthritis and other serious and debilitating conditions.
Regular exercise has also been found to improve insulin action which plays a major role in the prevention of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and type2 diabetes. For those who already have one of these conditions, exercise has been shown to control insulin for better management of symptoms, lower the risk of complications, and greatly improve a person’s quality of life.
How it Can Relieve Pain
Even though the last thing someone in pain wants to think of is getting physical; exercise may be your best bet for getting relief. Those suffering from chronic pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or other joint issues can greatly improve their symptoms by getting regular exercise. Here’s why:
*It can help keep your weight down and take some of the extra strain off your muscles and joints.
*It improves the way you feel by releasing endorphins and other brain chemicals that are natural pain-killers and mood boosters.
*It strengthens your muscles for better range of motion.
*It relieves joint stiffness and inflammation.
*It helps to prevent the bone loss that occurs as we age.
*It improves blood flow throughout the entire body.
It Doesn’t Take Much
You don’t need to go out and run a marathon or pump some serious iron to reap the rewards of exercise and reduce your risk of disease. All it takes is approximately 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of light to moderate physical activity to feel better physically and mentally, as well as reap the health benefits. If you’re just starting out then consider walking and if you’ve got joint or pain issues, then stick to low-impact activity like swimming or even just walking in a swimming pool. Exercise with a friend or in a group or in the privacy of your home. Or start playing golf more often with your pals. It really doesn’t matter as long as you get moving!
You can find out more about exercise and the medical conditions we talked about here.
Adrienne is a freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and fitness for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board. You can connect with Adrienne on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/writeradrienne.
- Adult Obesity Facts. (March 2014). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
- Lovett, Kate. Exercise and Disease Prevention. Vanderbilt University. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/exercise.htm
- Physical Activity. (October 2009). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/healthtopics/physactivity.htm
- Siegfried, Donna Rae. 4 Big Benefits of Exercise. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/staying-active/fitness-benefits/benefits-of-exercise.php
- Sheri R. Colberg, PHD, FACSM1, Ronald J. Sigal, MD, MPH, FRCP(C)2, Bo Fernhall, PHD, FACSM3, Judith G. Regensteiner, PHD4, Bryan J. Blissmer, PHD5, Richard R. Rubin, PHD6, Lisa Chasan-Taber, SCD, FACSM7, Ann L. Albright, PHD, RD8 and Barry Braun, PHD, FACSM9. (December 2010). Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. American Diabetes Association Diabetes Care Journal. Retrieved on April 18, 2014, from http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/12/e147.long
Now it’s your turn.
Do you exercise? What kinds of exercises do you do?
How often do you exercise?
Are you satisfied with your current exercise routine?
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