Most people associate the term ‘weight loss’ with a longer, healthier life, however, exercise, regardless of the goal, has shown to be more important in overall health. One study assessed the relationship between fitness and weight and the impact on heart health and longevity. After analyzing results of various weight loss studies, it was discovered that those who were obese reduced their risk of heart disease and premature death significantly if they were regularly active. Those that were simply dieting and losing weight showed little change in long-term health.
So, what exactly are the benefits of regular exercise that will promote a longer, healthier life?
Being active naturally increases the good HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and decreases the bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Doing so can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 21 percent for men and 29 percent for women. Exercise can also aid in the prevention of diabetes, stroke, and cancer.
Have you ever finished a workout and been in a bad mood? Most likely not as exercise stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, serotonins, and dopamine which make you feel happier, more relaxed, and boost confidence. Regular exercise has also been shown to decrease long term depression and anxiety.
Exercise boosts oxygen circulation throughout your body. This allows your body to use its energy much more efficiently. Therefore, having more energy will lead to be better productivity, ability to manage stress, and less mid-day fatigue.
Sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to good health. Numerous studies have shown that moderate to vigorous physical activity can promote sleep onset which alleviates daytime sleepiness and/or the need for sleep medications. For the best night sleep make sure to save the high-intensity workouts for the morning or afternoon. In addition, allow at least two hours after any workout for your body’s core temperature to return to normal before hitting the pillow.
To sum up, weight loss alone isn’t the answer to a long, healthy life. Opt for a manageable exercise routine you can stick to to reap all the benefits to achieve good health. Exercise, over time, combined with good nutrition, will promote better heart health, better sleep, and a happier and more energetic you.