Exercise is Medicine – How Does Exercise Help Improve Your Quality of Life?

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While everyone knows they probably should be exercising, and that exercising is a key way to help lose weight, does exercise have more benefits to your overall health? The answer is a resounding yes! Many call exercise the best preventative drug for common ailments, including psychiatric disorders, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer to name a few. Exercise has also been shown to slow down the rate of aging. One study found that, even though they started exercising to lose weight, people continued to exercise because of how they felt as well as liking the overall benefits of exercise.

Ways physical activity prolongs health:

  • Improves blood circulation, which reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Boosts good cholesterol levels
  • Keeps weight under control
  • Helps in the battle to quit smoking
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Boosts energy level
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
  • Increases muscle strength

Exercise is also good for your mental wellness.

Ways physical activity boosts mental wellness:

  • Helps manage stress
  • Relieves tension
  • Counters anxiety, depression and anger
  • Promotes enthusiasm and optimism
  • Counters anxiety and depression
  • Improves self-image
  • Improves mental acuity and memory

The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week.  Even brisk walking will do.  Make sure your workout regimen is varied and well-rounded, and incorporates high-intensity interval training, strength training, stretching, core work, and, if you work in an office setting, “intermittent movement” during work hours to offset extended periods of sitting still.

There is even a movement to have health care providers include physical activity when designing treatment plans for their patients.  Exercise is Medicine is a global health initiative that is “committed to the belief that physical activity is integral in the prevention and treatments of diseases and should be regularly assessed and ‘treated’ as part of all healthcare.”  For more information on their aims and strategies, visit www.exerciseismedicine.org.