by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Debating your workout today? Here’s some motivation …
Often, people search for miracle cures in bottles, gimmicks, and gadgets. Let exercise be your secret weapon against aging and illness. To use a saying from yesteryears, it’s good for what ails you (and preventing what could ail you).
A Medical Mission
A study is underway by the National Institutes of Health to validate exercise as a beneficial drug capable of being prescribed as medicine. Healthcare experts around the globe anticipate the day tailor-made exercise regimens can be prescribed to complement medication and traditional therapies. There is plenty of proof to help their cause.
Perks to Sweat Over
It may not be a cure-all, but being physically fit definitely helps. Here are some perks worth the sweat.
- Reduce risk of disease. Regular exercise reduces risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, poor cholesterol, high triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis, and even some types of cancer.
- Studies have shown exercise can decrease the risk of stroke by 27 percent and high blood pressure by about 40 percent.
- Reduced estrogen levels as a result of exercise may contribute to a 20 to 30 percent reduction in breast cancer risk compared to women who do not exercise.
- Weight-bearing exercises help minimize bone loss that naturally occurs with aging. Those who regularly lift weights, walk, swim, and do other weight-bearing workouts reduce risk of osteoporosis.
- Increase Immune Function. Exercise helps fight common viruses that surround us daily, like colds and flu. It improves the body’s ability to ward off bacteria. It even may boost the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
- Sleep better. Those who experience the healthy fatigue that results from exercise often enjoy more restful Zzzs. This improves physical and mental functioning. (And also helps fight off infections.)
- Increase stamina. Along with promoting quality sleep, exercise directly increases energy through improved circulation, increased strength, and extended endurance. Those who are physically fit perform daily activities with less struggle and fatigue. (That post-yardwork nap doesn’t have to be mandatory.)
- Stress less. The right workout can combat a rough day. Take out your frustrations in a boxing class or run away your worries on the treadmill. Clear your head with a session that focuses on mind-body awareness. Although yoga, Pilates, and similar workouts specialize in this approach, any fitness session can be approached mindfully.
- Give your face a natural lift. Improved circulation increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Get your glow on without creams, medications, and expensive procedures.
- Age less. A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association provided evidence that directly links exercise to a decrease in, or prevention of, physical disabilities in the elderly population.This shows we can control the progression of aches, pains, and physical limitations, which were previously assumed a natural part of aging. Think of exercise as an investment in your future health and independence. It should be executed just as any other retirement plan. The sooner you start, the “wealthier” you will be.
- Live better. Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong to help you maintain balance and mobility as you get older. It also helps maintain brain power. Exercise has an impressive impact on cognitive functioning, including improved memory, better judgement, and sharper concentration. Studies show it can help prevent or delay the onset of dementia. Best yet– while simultaneously improving quality of life, regular exercise may even add longevity.
“The Hidden Benefits of Exercise,” by Laura Landro at wsj.com.
“To Age Well, Walk,” by Gretchen Reynolds at nytimes.com.
“6 Benefits of the Miracle Drug Called Exercise,” by Barbara Brownell-Grogan at everydayhealth.com.
Physician pic: pixabay.com/en/doctor-write-prescriptions-784329/