Updated: Sep 26, 2020
Mobility training can help you avoid injury and influence your strength gains.
A 30-minute walk every day can do more for your long-term health than all the efforts of a dozen doctors and their medication.
Not only does exercise improve your health, even if you have already been diagnosed with something, but it can go a long way to prevent the onset of several life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
And exercise can make you look great – younger, fitter and thinner. Who needs any more convincing?
Here's a summary of the proven health benefits of exercise:
1. It's good for your heart
"Some exercise is better than none and more is better than less." Even a moderate amount of exercise helps your heart. Exercise reduces LDL cholesterol, the kind that clogs arteries. It also reduces your blood pressure, relieving stress on your heart; improves your insulin sensitivity; improves heart muscle function; and blood flow and diminishes the chances of developing blood clots.
2. Exercise promotes weight loss
Research has shown that to manage weight, you should exercise energetically for at least 30 minutes a day. You can also do an hour of intensive exercise every second day if this fits into your schedule more easily. Be consistent and be regular. Do those one-hour exercise sessions three to four times every week, not just one week a month, and you will achieve the result you desire - to lose weight and keep it off.
3. Exercise prevents osteoporosis
Exercise, together with a healthy calcium intake, builds strong bones. Weight-bearing exercises, like running, walking and weight-lifting, help lower your odds of getting osteoporosis as you grow older, according to experts.
Ideally, you should start when you're young, but it's never too late to pick up the habit. Even a brisk walk can help, say metabolic disease specialists.
4. Exercise lowers high blood pressure
Exercise is good for your blood pressure - no matter your age, weight, race or gender. And it really doesn't matter whether you get exercise from a brisk walk, a fast run or a few laps in the pool; the results are equally good.
The studies on which these findings were based used "aerobic" exercise - activities that increase heart rate and improve the body's ability to use oxygen. Most of the studies involved participating in one or more aerobic activity for 20 - 30 minutes per session, several times a week.
On average, exercise helped study participants reduce systolic (top number) pressure by nearly 4 mm Hg, and diastolic (bottom number) pressure by slightly more than 2.5 mm Hg. But experts caution that those with extremely high blood pressure should not rely on exercise alone to control hypertension.
5. Exercise is an excellent de-stressor
It's general knowledge: exercise counters stress and depression. But exactly how and why does this work?
Exercise acts as a temporary diversion to daily stresses and it improves self-esteem. Increased core temperature during exercise may lead to reduced muscle tension and favourable alterations in brain neurotransmitters. Mood improvements may also occur due to the increased endorphins. Psychological changes may occur because of changes in norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, all hormones which can affect mood and anxiety levels.
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