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15 Lesser Known Reasons To Exercise

Posted Oct 09 2008 5:02am
You know that exercise helps keep your heart healthy by reducing blood pressure, preventing cholesterol buildup, increasing the elasticity of your arteries, and lowering your triglyceride levels, but here are fifteen, not-so-well-known, ways workouts can better your body.

1. Strengthen Bones. Weight-bearing activities cause bones to become denser. Stronger bones are less likely to succumb to osteoporosis!
2. Alleviate Asthma. Do you skip work, outs because you fear an asthma flare-up? Studies show that regular exercise actually reduces the number of inflammatory cells in the lungs, actually easing symptoms.
3. Reduce Macular Degeneration Risk. Working out at least three times a week may reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration by up to 70 percent! Regular exercise helps prevent irregularities in blood-vessel walls that contribute to vision woes.
4. Ease The Blues. Light physical activity reduces the odds of feeling blue by up to 40 percent!
5. Cut Your Risk Of Periodontal Disease. Regular exercisers cut their risk of periodontal disease by more than half. (Except in smokers.) It’s probably that exercise helps the body regulate sugars that feed bacteria in gum tissue.
6. Fight Cancer. You can reduce your risk of ovarian and breast cancer by as much as one-third simply by doing something physical four days a week.
7. Fend Off Colds. In one Seattle study, 70 percent of women who worked out regularly avoided catching a cold all year long.
8. Break Free From The Midday Slump. Instead of downing an espresso, try walking or biking. Low-intensity exercise can increase the level of feel-good chemicals in the body and decrease fatigue by 65 percent, a University of Georgia study reveals.
9. Rev Up Your Sex Drive. Women who cycled for 20 minutes before viewing a racy clip experienced 21 percent more arousal than those who skipped the workout.
10. Fewer Headaches. Yes, strenuous exercise can trigger migraines for some, but low-intensity workouts actually stave off the pain. Evidence suggests that keeping your heart rate elevated for at least 20 minutes three times a week may reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
11. Heal Faster. Ohio State researchers found that exercisers’ wounds healed 10 days sooner than nonexercisers ’. Keeping fit reduces excessive inflammation around the injury, aiding recovery.
12. Sleep Better. Thirty minutes of exercise four days a week helps people fall asleep about 12 minutes earlier and sleep 42 minutes longer, find California researchers.
13. Get Smarter. Forty minutes of cardio four times weekly can double the amount of blood flow to the hippocampus (the brain’s memory center), enhancing recall.
14. Reduce Your Diabetes Risk. Studies show that if the 41 million prediabetic Americans exercised daily for just 30 minutes, they’d delay getting Type 2 diabetes for approximately 11 years.
15. Live Longer! Results from a 12-year University of South Carolina study indicate that, no matter what the scale says, regular pavement pounders live about nine years longer than their sedentary counterparts.
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