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Julie Rigdon

The Benefits of Exercise

Why do you exercise? Is it to lose weight, to build muscle mass, or to increase your cardiovascular health? While these are all great incentives, there are many additional benefits. Too often, we focus on specific goals, and we overlook the gradual, positive changes that occur when exercise is part of our routines.

Improved mood — Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can help alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed.

Reduced stress — Exercise can increase norepinephrine, a chemical that helps manage the brain’s response to stress. Working out can reduce stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental and physical pressures.

Improved brain power — Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance. This can help you with better decision making, higher thinking and learning.

Reduced physical effect of aging — Exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse our aging process according to a 2010 study from the University of California — San Francisco. Researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised for an average of 45 minutes a day over a three day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive.

Improved immune system — Doctors have found that exercise can strengthen your immune system by boosting the cells in your body to help fight off diseases — even something as common as the cold or flu.

Finally, having a regular exercise routine can be contagious. Studies have shown that, when you exercise, your friends and family are more inclined to get in shape as well. So, just by working out, you may encourage others to jump on the bandwagon - improving the health of your loved ones.
April 1, 2015