Exercise: How to Be Physically Fit and All the Benefits You’ll Reap

You’ve probably heard more times than you can count that you need to exercise. But do you really know why? For starters, here are seven reasons:

1.Exercise can help you lose weight.

This one’s a no-brainer, but there’s a reason exercise is part of most healthy weight loss plans. “Exercise can increase your metabolism, or the amount of fuel your body can use, which will facilitate weight loss,” says Clifford Edberg, RD, a personal trainer and program manager of personal training and nutrition coaching at Life Time Fitness in Chanhassen, Minnesota.

2.Exercise can help prevent heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

“Disease doesn’t like activity, especially heart disease,” Edberg says. That’s because many chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer, are rooted in inflammation in the body. Exercise helps combat that inflammation, lowering the risk of various diseases.

3.Exercise will improve your mood.

You’ve no doubt heard people talking about the runner’s high — that euphoric feeling runners are said to experience after exercising. Believe it. “Your body release feel-good hormones like serotonin when you exercise, and you simply feel better,” Edberg says.

4.Exercise can reduce stress levels.

Physical activity lowers levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. For a more simple explanation, “Exercise clears your mind from the day’s hustle,” says Meg Furstoss, CSCS, founder and managing partner of Precision Sports Performance in East Hanover, New Jersey.

5.Exercise can help stave off cognitive decline.

Research has shown that physical activity, and aerobic exercise in particular, can help improve cognitive function, even in adults who are at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to data published in January 2018 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.This is why the Alzheimer’s Association lists physical activity as one of the 10 things you can do for better brain health.

6.Exercise may help you sleep better.

People who exercise regularly tend to sleep better. Even just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can significantly improve your sleep quality, especially if you do it regularly. Plus, you reduce your risk of sleep issues, like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, according to the National Sleep Foundation.Bonus? “Exercise also prevents that daytime sleepiness, foggy feeling,” Furstoss explains.

7.Exercise gives you a natural shot of energy.

Skip the caffeine next time you need an energy boost. Instead, put your gym shoes on and at the very least go for a walk. Numerous studies have shown that exercise can increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

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