As the signs of great weather approach, people seem more motivated to exercise. We want to be in good shape to do some of the more physical summer activities such as gardening, outdoor walks and golfing. Here are some scientifically proven health benefits of exercise:
- Longevity– People who are physically active live longer.
- New brain cell development/improved memory and cognition– Exercise stimulates the formation of new brain cells. Research has shown that the areas of the brain stimulated by exercise are the same spots responsible for memory and learning. In studies, older adults who engage in routine physical activity score better on tests that assess decision making, memory, and problem-solving.
- Improve your mood– Exercise releases endorphins that improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Cardiovascular health– Lack of physical activity is a major contributor to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. Remember that your heart is a muscle, and exercising it makes it stronger and work more efficiently like the other muscles in your body.
- Weight control– Regular exercise helps you to reach and maintain healthy weight. If you consume more calories than your body requires to get through the day, exercise helps to offset that. Exercise speeds up the rate of energy use which results in increased metabolism throughout the day.
- Muscle strength– Studies repeatedly show that strength training increases muscle strength and mass and decreases fat tissue.
- Bone strength– An active lifestyle that includes weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation, delays bone loss and may protect against osteoporosis.
- Sleep better– The natural drop in body temperature 5-6 hours following exercise is what researchers hypothesize to be the reason why those who engage in regular exercise tend to sleep better.
Having a workout buddy can help keep you accountable and motivated. Having some good music, setting some goals, and varying your routines keep things fresh and interesting. Don’t get in a boredom rut: now that it’s getting tolerable outside, try to do some activities in the fresh air! And don’t forget that exercise improves circulation to sore spinal muscles! See your doctor before starting any new moderate to heavy intensity workout.