My Chicago-based personal trainer has taught me to like exercise. I have to admit I was pretty tough to convince. But he put me on a program of regular aerobics, weight training and healthy eating, and the results are positive in a number of areas. As a matter of fact, I’ve noticed seven different benefits of regular physical activity:
- 1) Weigh Control: Not only does exercise keep new pounds off, it helps to shed existing weight. Burn calories without increasing your food intake and there is no way to avoid losing weight. Any level of activity will do, but the more intense you make it, the faster you’ll lose weight. Make sure you take in enough protein and drink a lot of water.
- 2) Health: Fight cardiac disease with physical activity. By aerobically working your heart, you strengthen the muscle an increase its blood flow. More flow means more oxygen and a happier heart. Exercise boosts your “good” cholesterol and fights nasty triglycerides, which can lead to lower blood pressure. Other benefits are lowered risk for stroke, diabetes, depression, arthritis and even some forms of cancer.
- 3) Mood: Exercising puts you in a good mood because it releases endorphins and other brain chemicals. Your stress levels will go down and your physical appearance will improve. That’s bound to increase your self-esteem, which is guaranteed to put you in a better mood.
- 4) Energy: Dragging yourself through the day? Exercise and weight training increases your base metabolic rate and boosts endurance. Your cardiovascular system will work more efficiently and your oxygen levels should increase. Efficient organs translate into more energy.
- 5) Sleep: If you struggle to fall or stay asleep, exercise can be more effective than sleeping pills. It’s cheaper and safer too. Physical activity can provide deeper sleep. Just don’t do it too close to bedtime, or you might be too energized to fall asleep.
- 6) Sex: Women become more interested and men become more capable. Erectile dysfunction is often found in men who never exercise.
- 7) Fun: Exercise is a great way to spend your time. Why lie around on your couch like a sack of potatoes when you could be out and about doing things that make you happy. If you go to a gym, you have the opportunity for social interaction. Keep boredom at bay with a regular program of physical exercise.