Benefits of Regular Exercise

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Exercise benefits include low blood pressure, strong muscles, weight control and stress reduction. Walking, sports and aerobic classes are just a few of the exercises that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Recently Answered

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    AHenry Lodge, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Staying physically active increases your likelihood of staying socially connected. In a study of 6,500 older adults there was a linear relationship between levels of walking, biking or gardening and the number of social contacts.
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    AHenry Lodge, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Playing at anaerobic levels is a great way to get in peak shape. It doesn’t do anything for longevity, or probably for overall health, but it’s great for vim, vigor and pure fitness. Don’t bother with it until you get into pretty good basic shape, then add in interval training a couple of times a week.
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    AHenry Lodge, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    The real benefits of exercise come with months and years of sustained, steady growth.

    Long, slow exercise builds your muscles, heart and circulation, mobilizes your fat stores and then goes beyond that to let your body heal. Long, slow exercise is the opposite of the chronic inflammation of modern living. It’s the tide of youth.

    With training, you can easily double the circulatory and mitochondrial capacity you had before you started. Several months of long, slow exercise will turn you into a happy, Zen-like powerhouse of aerobic capacity. Zen-like because your brain does not know you’re walking on the treadmill. It thinks you’re foraging, and it moves automatically into the chemical state where your mind is engaged but relaxed. Your thinking is clear; your mood is calmer and more alive than it was at rest. Your brain wave patterns on an EEG are similar to meditation states, and for good reason -- this is the pace you used in nature when the threat was low.

    What’s interesting is that the actual pathways of relaxation and focus in your brain become stronger with use. Long-term memory improves with regular exercise, and the risk of Alzheimer’s drops. Long hikes and long, easy bike rides are enjoyable kinds of low aerobics because frankly it’s pretty tedious walking slowly on the treadmill for an hour or more.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    For years, doctors have been telling people that any sort of physical activity before bed was counteractive to a good night’s sleep. But the latest research shows that nighttime exercise can actually help you wind down and decompress. Mild nighttime activity also helps lower your body temperature, which helps you fall asleep faster. 
     
    You don’t need to do a full exercise routine; a quick workout like simple stretching or holding the plank position is a good way to slowly increase your heart rate without energizing you too much before bed. Every day, you’ll wake up fitter and better rested -- a win-win combination for your health and a more youthful appearance.
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    AEva Cwynar, MD, Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    Getting rid of toxins in the body will give you more energy. So here's another reason to exercise: exercise accelerates the detoxification process. Exercise pushes the blood to circulate more efficiently through the body, allowing nutrients to more easily reach all the organs and muscles. At the same time, exercise helps lymph fluids circulate through the body, which removes toxins and other harmful materials. When you exercise, you naturally take in more oxygen; to make room for the added oxygen, your cells kick out toxins that are taking up space. When you exercise properly, you build up a sweat and toxins are released through the pores of the skin.
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    Seems obvious, but regular physical activity has a more direct effect on your eating habits than you may realize. Scientists have recently discovered that exercise can strengthen the part of the brain responsible for inhibitory control. Said the researchers in the journal Obesity Reviews: "Increased physical activity may help compensate and suppress the hedonic drive to overeat."
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    Fourteen hours -- that's how long one study found that your body continues to burn calories after 45 minutes of vigorous exercise. The study, published by the American College of Sports Medicine, defined vigorous exercise as 73% of maximal oxygen uptake.
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    Scientists showed that adults ages 55-80 who engaged in a single year of aerobic exercise increased the size of their brains in the area of the hippocampus. This is the area of the brain that's crucial for memory and spatial navigation, two things aging people are most concerned about being compromised as the years pile up. According to the researchers, "starting an exercise regimen later in life is not futile for either enhancing cognition or augmenting brain volume." The study was done by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Illinois, Rice University, and Ohio State, and was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    All exercise helps you sleep as long as it's done three hours before bedtime. But brain scans show that fitting in fitness around 7 a.m. helps you spend 75% more time in deep sleep than later-day workouts do -- and you cycle through the stages of sleep more often. Hitting all four sleep stages several times keeps your energy high, your mind sharp and your body looking good.
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    If you're no stranger to sweaty palms, frantic thoughts, a racing heart, and other signs of a looming panic attack, you might find that physical activity can keep you cool as a cucumber. It can dial down your reaction enough to keep little blips of anxiety (like when you can't find your car in a humongous parking lot) from snowballing into something bigger and scarier.

    Regular activity helps you stay calm when you feel early signs of Big Trouble. (And by the way, you're not alone. Nearly one in 20 adults will deal with panic at some point in his or her lifetime.) This is the latest addition to the ways being active improves emotional as well as physical health. It's already proved to ease depression, reduce normal anxiety, and relieve stress. Whether you're seeing a therapist to deal with panic or trying to cope with a milder case on your own, exercise is a great add-on.

    Try it for mild cases of nerves, too. A morning bike ride might ease those butterflies before you give a speech at the local Rotary Club or present to your boss. Just 30 minutes of movement decreases stress hormones and increases feel-good brain chemicals. Your mind quiets down, and you can focus on the key things -- like solving whatever triggered that "uh-oh" feeling in the first place.

    Exercise also eases depression.