Subtle Health Benefits of Exercising
It reduces your risk of the common cold.
A consistent, medium-intensity routine is a proven cold-stopper. Taking a brisk, 40-minute walk 4 days a week, for example, can cut the number of colds you experience by 25 to 50 percent and can make the colds you do catch shorter by half, studies show. Moderate exercise boosts the number and activity level of important immune-system players called natural killer cells.
It improves depression.
The warning signs of depression can sneak up on you, but there are ways to help treat it naturally. Exercise is a natural mood-booster, but continuous and regular exercise might make you less likely to relapse into depressive episodes.
It helps prevent and treat osteoporosis.
A sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances of osteoporosis. During exercise, the impact as your feet hit the ground stimulates cells in the bones of your legs, hips, and spine to build new bone, preventing the thinning that can lead to osteoporosis. High-impact activities such as dancing, jumping rope, or playing tennis do more to stimulate bone growth and maintain bone density. Strength training is also important. It stimulates bone growth when muscles and ligaments "tug" on bones as you lift weights, use resistance bands or machines, or do exercises (think push-ups) that rely on your own body weight to build muscle. Your best option is a combination of high-impact exercise and strength training.
It lowers blood pressure.
Even if you have hypertension or prehypertension, exercise can get your BP down to safer levels by changing the stiffness of your blood vessels, so blood can flow more freely. The Mayo Clinic suggests walking, cycling, swimming, and strength training to combat high blood pressure.
It battles chronic fatigue.
A workout may leave you exhausted, but you'll probably feel better in the long run.
It relieves constipation.
One way to get things moving is to get yourself moving. Exercise can reduce straining and speed the passage of food through your digestive system.
It helps control diabetes.
In addition to eating the right foods—think Mediterranean diet—physical activity is a proven way to lower blood sugar. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, so your cells can better use available insulin to take up glucose. Staying sensitive to insulin can help delay your need for medication or allow you to use smaller doses. Losing weight can also get your diabetes under control.
It can prevent stroke.
Increasing your heart rate can do a lot to ward off cardiovascular diseases. Just 30 minutes a day of exercise strenuous enough to get your heart beating faster can reduce your risk of stroke 20 percent. Exercise harder, and watch the risk drop another 7 percent. Check with your doctor about what amount of exercise is right for you.
It increases your life span.
According to the CDC, few lifestyle choices have as a big impact on your overall health as physical activity. If you exercise for just one hour a day, you are 40 percent less likely to die early than people who only exercise 30 minutes per week. Pair that with a diet of anti-aging foods, and you’re set for life.