Exercise Benefits & Motivation

We have all heard it many times before – regular exercise is good for you in so many ways. But for many of us it can be hard to make exercise a regular part of our lives —  you are busy, there’s not enough time in the day, you don’t have the energy to work out, that old knee injury makes it hard to do some of the things you used to do. The good news is that it’s never too late to start. Below are some of the health benefits of exercise courtesy of Medline Plus, the National Library of Medicine.

Regular exercise and physical activity may:

Exercise strengthens your heart and improves your circulation. The increased blood flow raises the oxygen levels in your body. This helps lower your risk of heart diseases such as high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, and heart attack. Regular exercise can also lower your blood pressure and triglyceride levels.

During exercise, your body releases chemicals that can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. This can help you deal with stress and reduce your risk of depression.

Exercise stimulates your body to release proteins and other chemicals that improve the structure and function of your brain.

Exercise can lower your blood sugar level and help your insulin work better. This can cut down your risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. And if you already have one of those diseases, exercise can help you to manage it.

Along with diet, exercise plays an important role in controlling your weight and preventing obesity. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat and drink must equal the energy you burn. To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat and drink.

Regular exercise can help kids and teens build strong bones. Later in life, it can also slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. Doing muscle-strengthening activities can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength.

including colon, breast, uterine, and lung cancer.

For older adults, research shows that doing balance and muscle-strengthening activities in addition to moderate-intensity aerobic activity can help reduce your risk of falling.

Exercise can help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Studies show that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.

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Ways to make exercise a part of your regular routine

Courtesy of Medline Plus, the National Library of Medicine


Make everyday activities more active

Even small changes can help. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk down the hall to a coworker's office instead of sending an email. Wash the car yourself. Park further away from your destination.


Be active with friends and family

Having a workout partner may make you more likely to enjoy exercise. You can also plan social activities that involve exercise. You might also consider joining an exercise group or class, such as a dance class, hiking club, or volleyball team.


Keep track of your progress

Keeping a log of your activity or using a fitness tracker may help you set goals and stay motivated.


Make exercise more fun

Try listening to music or watching TV while you exercise. Also, mix things up a little bit - if you stick with just one type of exercise, you might get bored. Try doing a combination of activities.


Practice Reward Bundling

Create built-in rewards for meeting your exercise goals. Treat yourself to a bubble-bath after a workout, or listen to an exciting online book or watch a specific program only while exercising. Want to find out what happens next? You'll need to exercise to find out!


Find activities that you can do even when the weather is bad

You can walk in a mall, climb stairs, or work out in a gym even if the weather stops you from exercising outside.