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Exercise really is good for you, for so many reasons

Regular physical activity helps extend and improve quality of life. Exercise helps in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and managing weight and stress to maintain fitness.

Need more convincing? Take a look at ways exercise can have a positive impact on your health.

Strengthens your cardiovascular (CV) system: Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs. It causes your blood to travel more efficiently through your body, bringing much-needed oxygen and nutrients to the rest of your body.

Cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart, causing it to pump more blood per beat. As a result, your heart rate, both at rest and during exertion, will decrease. Your heart will also acquire the ability to recover from the stress of any physically strenuous activity more quickly. Cardio vascular exercises also help decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk for other heart related diseases.

Try incorporating aerobic activities like walking, running or jumping rope to give your heart and lungs the kind of workout they need to function efficiently.

Functional strength: The ability to perform efficiently in day-to-day life is referred to as functional strength. Too many of us take our functional strength for granted. Every single day our bodies are degenerating with age. Apart from the loss of strength, stamina and aesthetic appeal, our physical functions become less efficient.

Functional strength can be preserved and improved by weight training. A muscularly stronger person is more likely to recover from an injury much faster and with fewer complications than a less fit person.

Consider the case of an ankle injury. A muscularly weak person does not have strong muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding the ankle joint to bear the abuse of a twisted ankle. A person’s strength is directly proportional to his muscle mass, hence the stronger we are the less prone we are to injuries and related degeneration.

Functional training helps the average person develop strength that carries over into their daily activities such as pulling open a heavy door, hiking up a rocky trail, carrying a child, lifting heavy packages, or reaching up and pulling down a bulky box from an overhead shelf.

  • Keep bones strong: Strength training exercises help preserve bone mass and increase bone density. Regular resistance training exercise is one of the best things you can do to prevent the onset of bone-weakening disease like osteoporosis

  • Determines body composition: Weight training increases the rate at which your body burns calories through a pathway called AFTERBURN. This means that the body keeps burning calories at an accelerated rate throughout the day, even after your workout is finished. This process increases calorie utilization even at relative rest. Thus, it helps us to both achieve and maintain a more optimal body composition. Maintaining healthy body composition also helps reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

  • Helps prevent and manage diabetes: Regular exercise, coupled with a healthy diet, is an important way to prevent and/or manage diabetes.

  • Exercise can help insulin work more efficiently and can lower your blood sugar. As your muscles contract during exercise, they use sugar for energy. To meet this energy need, sugar is removed from your blood both during and after exercise, which lowers your blood sugar level.

  • Exercise also reduces blood sugar by increasing your sensitivity to insulin, thereby allowing your body to use available insulin more efficiently to bring sugar into your cells.

  • Eases depression, manages pain and stress: Exercise is known to boost the release of feel good chemicals (neurotransmitters) called endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are like "natural" pain relievers that help you relax, sleep better and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. All of these changes help us deal better with anxiety, depression, sadness, fatigue, stress and anger.

Finally, exercise is not a “quick fix” pill. The beneficial effects of exercise cannot be stored. They accrue to you only while you are at it. So make exercise a part and parcel of your daily routine, for life.

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