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6 Reasons to Get Moving!

You know exercise is good for you — but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to helping you manage your weight, find out how exercise can improve your life no matter your age.

1. Exercise improves mood.
Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at home or a short walk can help you calm down.

Research shows that regular exercise stimulates the release of chemicals called endorphins.  Endorphins make you feel happier and more relaxed than you were before exercise.  Looking and feeling healthier may also boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Studies have shown that regular physical activity can help prevent depression.

2. Exercise combats chronic disease.

Are you worried about Type II diabetes or heart disease? Hoping to prevent the onset of osteoporosis? Regular exercise can help you decrease your risk for these specific disorders as well as others.

Regular exercise can help improve your cholesterol. For example, exercise increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, which acts like a scavenger and decreases your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.  Lower LDL levels are associated with decreased plaque buildup in the arteries and a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease.  Everyone starts to accumulate plaque during adolescence.  If too much plaque accumulates, certain parts of your body like your heart and brain may be deprived of important nutrients resulting in a heart attack or stroke.  Regular exercise on the other hand decreases blood pressure and increases your lifespan.  Remember to supplement your exercise program with a healthy diet to further decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 7.28.42

And there’s more. Exercise also strengthens your joints and bones thereby decreasing your risk for osteoporosis.  More specifically, impact exercise and resistance training stimulates osteoblasts, or bone-building cells.  Osteoblasts bring calcium to your bones making them thicker and stronger.

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Finally, regular exercise can help prevent diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity.  Exercise stimulates the uptake of glucose from the blood into the cells of the body.  Therefore, with regular exercise, you will need less medication to stabilize blood sugar levels.  If you combine exercise with a proper diet, you may be able to stop taking diabetes medications altogether!

3. Exercise helps you manage your weight.

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Want to lose those extra pounds? Skip that next television show and start moving your body!

When you perform regular exercise, you burn calories (units of energy). The more intense and the longer you work out, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control.  Our bodies also burn calories at rest.  Regular resistance or weight training activates muscle mass and the more active tissue in the body, the more calories are burned at rest.  Therefore, to maximize the number of calories you burn during the day, be sure to perform regular aerobic exercise like walking or cycling as well as resistance training.

4. Exercise boosts your energy level. healthy man

Are you commonly tired after a day at work or playing with your kids in the park?  Exercise can help solve your problem.

Exercise increases the strength of your heart and blood vessels so that you can deliver oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body more efficiently.  This means that your body will be well nourished and you will always have that spark of energy needed to perform the activities you enjoy.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep.

Do you have trouble falling asleep? Or do you wake up feeling even more tired in the morning? Give exercise a shot for a better night’s sleep.Clock

High quality sleep is important because it can improve your concentration, energy level, and mood.  It has also been related to decreased risk for chronic disease. Performing exercise regularly can help you fall asleep faster and deeper.  However, make sure that you don’t exercise too close to bedtime or you might have too much energy to fall asleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try exercising a little earlier in the day.

6. Exercise is fun!

Wondering what you should do on your weekends? Look for activities and exercises that your family will enjoy performing together! Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 7.30.38

Exercise does not have to be boring. Perform Power Up in 10 exercises. Check out a local hiking trail or yoga class. Play with your kids on the playground.  Plan a neighborhood basketball or soccer game. Find a physical activity you will enjoy, and do it! If you get bored, try something new. All that matters is that you stay moving!

Find many fun-filled activities at What Can Our Family Do Together?

Are you convinced of the all the benefits of regular exercise? Start enjoying these rewards by being active today!

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Carnero M, Hobbs C, Stringer M, Branscum P, Taylor EL.  A review of physical activity interventions on determinants of mental health in children and adolescents.  Int J Ment Health Promot. 2012; 14(4): 196-206.
Madden KM. Evidence for the benefit of exercise therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2013; 6: 233-239.
Pattyn N, Comelissen VA, Toghi Eshghi SR, Vanhees L.  The Effect of Exercise on the Cardiovascular Risk Factors Constituting the Metabolic Syndrome.  Sports Med. 2013: 43(2): 121-133.
Yank PY, Ho KH, Chen HC, Chien MY.  Exercise training improves sleep quality in middle-aged and older adults with sleep problems: a systematic review.  J Physiother.  2012; 58(3): 157-163.
Zschucke E, Gaudlitz K, Ströhle A.  Exercise and Physical Activity in Mental Disorders: Clinical and Experimental Evidence.  J Prev Med Public Health. 2013 Jan;46(Suppl 1):S12-S21.

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