25 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Exercise

by | Apr 20, 2011 | Articles, Healthy Living | 2 comments

benefits of exercise

Is there anything you do for FREE that gives you 25 PROVEN benefits?

In this day and age, we all have busy lives.  We don’t have the time to add in much else, so when we can accomplish more than one thing at a time, it’s amazing.  One of the best things that can achieve that, and that will give you an unbelievable number of benefits, is exercise.  Most of you are probably thinking, “Well duh, I know that.”  However, after reading this, I think you’ll be impressed with just how beneficial it can be.

As I have done my research for this article, I was surprised at several things.  It’s incredible the wide range of things that a little exercise can help.  Here is a list of the most creditable benefits of exercise I could put together.  Which are the most interesting or surprising to you?  Which benefits are the most motivating to you?

25 Benefits of Exercise

1.  It reverses the detrimental effects of stress

  • Just 30 minutes of exercise can erase the negative effects of stress.

2.  It slows the progression of aging

  • According to a June study from the University of California at San Francisco, stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and not active.

3.  It lifts depression

  • Burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.

4.  It improves learning

  • Activities like playing tennis or taking a dance class provide the biggest brain boost.  Complicated activities also improve our capacity to learn by enhancing our attention and concentration skills, according to German researchers who found that high school students scored better on high-attention tasks after doing 10 minutes of a complicated fitness routine compared to 10 minutes of regular activity. (Those who hadn’t exercised at all scored the worst.)

5.  It leaves you feeling euphoric

  • Run, bike, or swim as fast as you can for 30 to 40 seconds and then reduce your speed to a gentle pace for five minutes before sprinting again. Repeat four times for a total of five sprints to get the most benefits of this exercise.

6.  It can prevent or decrease the effects of heart disease and stroke

  • Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity.

7.  It can prevent or cure noninsulin-dependent diabetes.

  • By reducing body fat, physical activity can help to prevent and control this type of diabetes.

8.  It can prevent or cure obesity.

  • Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories. On its own, exercise is not enough to control weight, however, when physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity.

9.  It can prevent or greatly reduce back pain

  • By increasing muscle strength, endurance, and improving flexibility and posture and by helping improve balance and coordination, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain or hasten its departure!

10.  It can prevent or help osteoporosis

  • Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

11.  It reduces the risk for memory loss

  • Research has found an association between increased exercise and lower rate of functional decline in older adults. Aerobic exercise improves reaction time, perception, and math skills. Exercising for 60 minutes a week improves the physical and emotional well-being of patients who already have Alzheimer’s disease.

12.  It reduces the risk of certain cancers

  • A direct association exists between higher levels of physical activity and lower cancer death rates; there’s also a strong relationship between increased physical activity and reduced colon cancer and lower rates of prostate cancer. Physical activity after a cancer diagnosis can aid recovery and improve outcomes.

13.  It gives you more energy

  • Studies show that exercise increases feelings of energy and lessens feelings of fatigue. Exercise also teaches the body how to produce more energy, making it more efficient at burning fat.

14.  It can protect seniors from injury

  • Studies have shown that seniors can prevent falls and maintain a higher level of functioning with exercise. Working on your balance, flexibility, endurance and strength will improve your quality of life as you get older while also protecting you from injury.

15.  It helps you live longer and better

  • Studies have shown that regular exercise can actually add years to your life, whether you start exercising at 15 or 50.

16.  It aids in the evacuation of gas

  • A study from Spain’s Autonomous University of Barcelona suggests that mild physical activity clears gas and alleviates bloating. That’s because increasing your heart rate and breathing stimulates the natural contractions of the intestinal muscles, helping to prevent constipation and gas buildup by expediting digestion.

17.  It lowers your risk of catching a cold

  • Women ages 50 to 75 who did 45 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week, had a third as many colds as those who did once-weekly stretching sessions, a University of Washington study found.

18.  It lowers your dental bills

  • Adults who did 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 or more times a week were 42% less likely to suffer from periodontitis, a gum disease that’s more common as you get older. Working out may thwart periodontitis the same way it does heart disease–by lowering levels of inflammation-causing C-reactive protein in the blood.

19.  It improves your vision

  • An active lifestyle can cut your risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 70%, according to a British Journal of Ophthalmology study of 4,000 adults. This incurable disease makes reading, driving, and seeing fine details difficult, and it’s the most common cause of blindness after age 60.

20.  It improves your vocabulary

  • Exercisers who ran just two 3-minute sprints, with a 2-minute break in between, learned new words 20% faster than those who rested, in a University of Muenster in Germany study.

21.  It reduces pot cravings

  • The study by researchers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre suggest that a few sessions of running on the treadmill can significantly reduce heavy marijuana users’ cravings for the substance.

22.  It promotes a healthy pregnancy

  • Although exercise might be risky in some cases, the benefits of exercising during pregnancy generally far outweigh the risks and some women can even exercise up until the third trimester. Relaxation exercises, Kegel exercises that strengthen the pelvic muscles, and back exercises are all important for pregnant women.

23.  It improves sleeping patterns

  • Exercise during the day promotes the onset and quality of sleep, according to the South African Memory Resource Centre. But you need to exercise at the right time: the ideal time for exercise is in the morning. Exercising late in the day can contribute to sleeplessness, because exercise causes an increase in your body’s energy.

24.  It helps manage arthritis

  • A study by Dutch researchers who tracked 300 people with rheumatoid arthritis for two years concluded that regular, intensive exercise for patients with rheumatoid arthritis builds muscle strength and aerobic capacity, improves the ability to do daily tasks and fosters a sense of well-being.

25.  It can prevent and treat impotence

  • Research on 2,126 men suggested that stricter dietary control, increased physical activity and other measures related to keeping cardiac disease at bay can help reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.

There you go! 25 scientifically proven benefits of exercise!  Think of the money you can save by preventing so many health problems.  You can avoid so much misery for you and your family by exercising regularly.

What was most motivating to you from this list?  Were there any big surprises?  Personally, I was most surprised to see all the brain benefits you can get from it!

Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Darrell Kilcup, DC, CFMP

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