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Ten Medical Reasons To Exercise: What Does Exercise Really Do For Us?

Posted Mar 13 2009 3:02pm

10 Dec 2008 We all know that exercise is good for us, but why, exactly? What does exercise really do for us, for our bodies, for our minds, for our social lives? Physicians at The Methodist Hospital in Houston propose their Top 10 list of reasons to exercise this holiday season.

1. Exercise helps keep your arteries flexible and malleable, which prevents heart disease and heart attacks.

2. If you have metabolic syndrome, losing as little as 6.5 percent of your body weight results in substantial reductions in blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides and total cholesterol, all factors that lead to heart disease.

3. Exercise prevents the growth of fat that surrounds the midsection, which is angry, dynamic fat that actively contributes to diabetes and resulting vision loss and limb amputations.

4. Fat around the midsection is also associated with inflammation that leads to damaged blood vessels, heart disease, liver disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise helps prevent this.

5. Exercise lifts your mood by increasing serotonin levels in your brain.

6. Exercise can be a social activity, which is associated with higher incidence of general happiness.

7. Strength training improves bone strength and prevents osteoporosis.

8. Strength training and flexibility helps prevent injuries caused by everyday activities like lifting things and hopping over puddles.

9. Participating in team sports like flag football, softball, basketball or sand volleyball enhances hand-eye coordination and improves your reflexes.

10. Exercise tones your muscles and makes you leaner.

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