It’s a safe bet to say that the majority of people have a love-hate relationship with exercise. Even though we are continually reminded of its importance by our health care providers, the media, and of course our loved ones, we use a plethora of excuses to ignore the many health benefits that exercise can bring.
Had a stressful day at work? Exercise can help you relax because it stimulates the production of endorphins (our feel good hormones). For that reason, many doctors routinely prescribe physical activity as a treatment for depression and anxiety.
Suffer from insomnia? Regular exercise can not only help you fall asleep faster but it can also provide a deeper, more restful sleep. Studies suggest late afternoon workouts since the natural reduction in body temperature five or six hours after exercise can help bring on sleep.
Worried about cholesterol? Regular exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol while decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol. This combination keeps blood flowing smoothly by lowering the amount of plaque in the arteries.
Suffer from arthritis? Exercise helps ease pain by keeping the joints moving while strengthening the muscles around the joints. Range of motion exercises are basic stretching exercises which keep the joints supple and mobile. Strengthening exercises help maintain and/or increase muscle strength without putting stress on the joints and endurance exercises strengthen the heart and lungs and improve stamina.
Diagnosed with allergies? Moderate exercise is thought to increase immune system efficiency thereby decreasing the possibility of allergic reactions. Choose you exercise locations wisely and to further reduce the risk of allergies after an outdoor workout, take a shower, wash your hair, and put on clean clothes.
Back pain a problem? Regular exercise can actually help alleviate back pain. Exercising distributes vital nutrients into the disc space and soft tissues in the back which help keep discs, muscles, ligaments, and joints healthy.
Pregnant? Research presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Physiological Society suggests that exercise during pregnancy has cardiovascular benefits for both the mother and the fetus. Dr. Linda E. May from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri concluded that “maternal exercise may be the earliest intervention to improve the heart of children and possibly the best.”
Choosing an activity you enjoy walking, swimming, cycling will make exercising fun! But before beginning any exercise program, consult your doctor to discuss a program that is right for you.
“There is no medicine that can help overcome the range of conditions for which exercise has been prescribed: obesity, depression, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and coronary heart disease.” Dr. Walter Bortz, Journal of American Geriatrics Society
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