Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise.
The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.
1. Exercise controls weight
Regular trips to the gym are great, but don’t worry if you can’t find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.
2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, a number of types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
3. Exercise improves mood
You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
4. Exercise boosts energy
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.
5. Exercise promotes better sleep
6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
But there’s even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.
7. Exercise can be fun … and social!
So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends.
The bottom line on exercise
Try to engage in a combination of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking or swimming. Squeeze in strength training at least twice per week by lifting free weights, using weight machines or doing body weight exercises.
Space out your activities throughout the week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to ramp up your exercise efforts.
Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.