Exercise Does Wonders for Your Body, Brain and Bedtime

It has become a mantra. Exercise is good for you. Exercise helps prevent … well, a lot of health issues. We should get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Too often we put fitness at the very end of our to-do list. It’s not fun. It makes you sweat. It aches the next day. It doesn’t fit into your schedule.

“Typically, it’s lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment, negative associations, fear or maybe low self-esteem,” according to Lavinia Rodriguez, a clinical psychologist and author of Mind Over Fat Matters: Conquering Psychological Barriers to Weight Management.

But what more motivation can you ask for when it is a proven fact that exercise will help you maintain good health, prevent chronic diseases, extend your time on this good earth and bolster your sex life?

Here are a few examples:

Healthier heart: Exercise does wonders for our tickers. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By fitting in physical activity, we can cut down on our LDL cholesterol, the kind that clogs arteries; lowers blood pressure; improves heart muscles function; boosts our blood flow to help prevent developing blood clots.

Weight control: Michiganders have been packing on pounds, and it is not at all healthy. The Great Lakes State has the 19th highest adult obesity rate in the nation and the 12th highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17, according to the State of Obesity. Michigan’s adult obesity rate is currently 33%, a significant jump from 1990’s rate of 13.2%. This is where the 30-minutes-a-day concept comes into play.

Chill out: Physical activity plays a huge role in reducing stress and depression. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being, according to the Mayo Clinic. It also reduces stress by taking your mind off worries and negative thoughts. There are even indications that exercise can prevent recurrence of depression.

Forever young: Exercise has benefits for all ages, but it has additional bennies for older folk. It lowers the chance of dementia, according to American Senior Communities, as well as preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, stroke, heart disease and osteoporosis. Regular physical activity also promotes faster healing, improves balance, stability, and regular, moderate exercise can help a senior maintain his or her independence if it is done on a long-term basis.

Better in bed: Getting fit and staying fit has a positive impact on one’s sex life. According to Health 24, you benefit psychologically because you feel better about yourself and are more inclined toward sex. Being fit improves libido, blood circulation and sexual functioning.

Sleep: Getting your physical workout in the morning gives you an improved chance of getting a quality night’s sleep. Those endorphins mentioned earlier give you a sense of well-being and contentment that can help you sleep better.

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