Reasons to Exercise (Part 1 of 3)

You know you need to do it, so we’re not going to hit you over the head with a zillion reasons why you should “Drop and give us ten!”   Instead, we’re going to share just 10 at a time.  What follows is the first of 3 sets of 10 reps

  • Regular exercise may help delay, or even prevent, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders which accompany aging.  And, it can be a heck of a lot more fun than solving online Sudoku puzzles!
  • Regular exercise lowers stress hormone levels in the blood stream (although it temporarily raises the levels during exercise).  These irksome chemicals are responsible for raising blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels!
  • Certain types of exercise such as high impact activities and lifting OUSs (our acronym for “objects of unusual size”) help maintain, or even increase, bone mineral density.  That’s something worth thinking about, since 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over 50 years of age in the U.S. can expect to experience an osteoporosis-related fracture during the remainder of their lives.  Osteoporosis is a frighteningly “inclusive” condition, so jump, lift OUSs, eat those greens and get some sunshine!
  • Vigorous exercise releases endorphins into the bloodstream, responsible for the “high” some experience during, as well as after, an especially energetic exercise session.  Best of all, this particular “high” is cheap and totally legal!
  • Exercise may reduce the risk of breast cancer.  In fact, one study reported that postmenopausal women who swam, ran or jogged at least 6 hours a week lowered their risk of breast cancer by almost 30%.   That’s not chump change!
  • Regular exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.  HDL, or “good” cholesterol, is responsible for protecting against coronary artery disease by removing “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from arteries and transporting it back to the liver where it’s processed and then excreted.
  • When combined with healthy food choices and portion control, exercise can help you maintain an ideal body weight.  If you’re not somewhere in the ballpark of your ideal body weight, you may be at increased risk for coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood cholesterol.  You’ve also boosted your risks of cancer, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and gallstones.  As if that’s not enough, you’re likely to pay more for life insurance, travel and clothing.  You’re more likely to earn less, and be promoted less often, than a thinner colleague.  Although we don’t condone size discrimination, stuff happens.  Don’t let it happen to you!
  • If you want to sleep like a baby, regular exercise may be the perfect Rx.  It’s been shown to help people fall asleep faster as well as deepen sleep, just as long as they don’t work themselves into a lather too close to bedtime.  Sounds better than popping Diphenhydramine or Doxylamine, both common ingredients in over-the counter sleep aids.  (We’re fond of reminding folks, “If you can’t say it, you better think twice before eating it!)
  • Non-exercisers have a 30% – 50% greater incidence of high blood pressure than their exercising friends.  A strong heart pumps more blood with less effort, decreases the force exerted on arteries and, thereby, lowers blood pressure.  Exercise, combined with a healthy diet may, in some cases, be just enough to help control blood pressure without meds.
  • Exercise boosts the immune system by improving oxygen metabolism, and studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between reduced oxygen metabolism and immune deficiency.  Moderate physical activity is especially effective in improving resistance to the common cold and other upper respiratory track infections.  So, consider investing in a medicine ball rather than in filling your medicine cabinet with throat lozenges, multi-symptom cold/flu relief softgel packs, pain relief meds, expectorants and nasal decongestants.

Check back tomorrow for a second set of 10 Reasons to Exercise.

© Cathy Larripa and KissWorkouts Blog, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cathy Larripa and KissWorkouts Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Filed under Health, Motivation and Inspiration, Women's Health

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