For the health of it

0 comments, Monday, January 28th, 2013, by Melissa Lindsey, in Life
Want to have more energy, increase your confidence and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of a regular exercise program are hard to ignore, and they are yours for the taking regardless of age, gender and physical ability. If you’re still skeptical, take a look at these five ways physical activity can improve your life.

1. Helps prevent disease.

Our bodies were meant to move, and they crave physical activity. No matter what your current weight is, beginning a fitness program today will decrease your risk of developing type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain types of cancer. This is because physical activity increases high-density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides.

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2. Enhances flexibility.

Exercises that stretch our muscles such as yoga and pilates keep our bodies limber and improves posture. Improving your flexibility reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination. Flexibility also strengthens the core as you are able to bend, reach and twist more easily. If you have ever had a tense neck or back, stretching might be just the thing that can loosen those muscles and help you feel more relaxed.

3. Controls weight.

Exercise burns calories thus preventing excess weight gain. The more intense the physical activity, the more calories you burn. But don’t get discouraged by thinking you have to set aside a large chunk of your day to burn calories. By taking the stairs, you’ve already burned more calories than you would have by standing in the elevator.

4. Improves mood.

Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day at school? A brisk jog or a workout at the gym might be just what you need. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that will boost your mood, leaving you happier and more relaxed. Being proud of your strong abs or your tight glutes may also increase your self-esteem and confidence.

5. Boosts energy.

If you ever find yourself falling asleep during class or winded by household chores, that may be a sign that you need more exercise. Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to our muscles and tissues, which helps our cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when our lungs and heart are working efficiently, we have more energy to spend elsewhere.

Melissa Lindsey is a senior at Utah Valley University studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. Contact her at lindsey.mml@gmail.com

About Melissa Lindsey

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