5 Benefits of Regular Exercise

Gym woman workout
Regular exercise helps you stay in shape. (Image: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images)

Following a regular exercise regime can provide you with numerous health benefits. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, over 60 percent of U.S. adults don't get enough exercise. The agency suggests performing at least 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise, such as walking briskly or swimming, on most days of the week to get the health benefits of regular exercise.

Boosts Your Mood

Regular exercise can improve your emotional and mental health by reducing stress and anxiety levels. Exercising stimulates various chemicals in your brain that leave you feeling more relaxed and happier. Regular exercise also helps you get in shape physically, which can boost your self-esteem and confidence. Following a regular exercise routine might also help you to sleep better, which can put you in a better mood as well. Don't exercise too close to your bedtime, however, or you might get too energized to go to sleep.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Regular physical activity can enhance the health of your heart. Exercising boosts your cardiovascular health by lowering your blood pressure, preventing plaque from building up in your arteries and reducing your triglyceride levels. Physical activity also appears to increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein, or "good cholesterol," in your blood while reducing your risk of stroke.

Prevents Chronic Health Conditions

Regular exercise can decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a health condition involving high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar. People who exercise regularly also appear to have a lower risk of suffering from breast, colon, lung and endometrial cancers, the CDC reports, and the Arthritis Foundation says regular exercise might help you prevent or manage arthritis as well.

Promotes Healthy Weight

Following a regular exercise program is crucial for losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. You lose weight when you burn more calories than you consume. Exercise helps you to burn off calories while preserving your lean muscle mass. The CDC suggests performing about 150 minutes of moderately intense exercises every week to help keep off excess pounds. Combine regular exercise with cutting your caloric consumption to take off extra pounds.

Increases Strength and Endurance

Regular exercise can help to strengthen your bones, muscles and joints. It can slow down the loss of bone density that can lead to osteoporosis. Older adults who exercise regularly also lower their risk of suffering from a hip fracture if they should fall. Following an exercise regimen increases the strength of your lungs, which means that all of your tissues receive an increased amount of oxygen and nutrients. This oxygen boost gives you more energy.

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