Ten other reasons to exercise

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2004

By Staff
So many of us think that the only reason to exercise is to be thin. Little do we know that that is not the half of it. There are many physical and emotional reasons that go along with proper exercise. Let's look at 10 "other" reasons to exercise:
Reason 1: Sleep
30-40 minutes of walking or aerobics, four times a week, improves the quality, duration and ease of falling asleep in healthy adults. Why does this help you may ask? Exercise can help relax your muscles and reduce stress.
Reason 2: Gallstones
These things hurt! Active people are 30 percent less likely to have gallstone surgery than sedentary people. In one study, "women who spent more than 60 hours a week sitting at work or driving were twice as likely to have gallstone surgery as women who sat less than 40 hours a week."
Reason 3: Arthritis
Regular moderate exercise, aerobic and strength training can reduce joint swelling and the pain that people experience with arthritis.
Reason 4: Anxiety and Depression
People who have anxiety and depression can help relieve their symptoms by doing regular exercise. Exercise can curb your symptoms by releasing natural opiates and it can take your mind off your problems.
Reason 5: Heart Disease
In one study, "men with low fitness who became fit had a lower risk of heart disease than men who stayed unfit." In a similar study, "women who walked the equivalent of three or more hours a week at a brisk pace had a 35 percent lower risk of heart disease than women who walked infrequently." Exercise boosts your level of oxygen to your heart muscles by expanding arteries and creating tiny new blood vessels. Regular exercise can also help prevent blood clots and help their breakdown.
Reason 6: Diabetes
The more you exercise the lower your risk becomes for having diabetes. If you are overweight, have high blood pressure, or you stand to inherit it, you need to get moving! In one study, "women who walked at least three hours a week had about a 40 percent lower risk of diabetes than sedentary women."
Reason 7: Falls and Fractures
Older adults who participate in regular cardiovascular and strength training exercises have fewer risks of broken bones when they fall than an adult who does not. Especially when you are of the age of a senior citizen, if you fall and break a hip it becomes a very serious issue. The earlier you begin to work out, the better off you are. Remember, it is never too late to start.
Reason 8: Osteoporosis
Exercise, strength training especially, can increase bone density in middle aged and older adults.
Reason 9: Get You Through The Day
Whether it be trying to get through a day at the office or raising the children – daily exercise can help give you the extra pep you may need!
Reason 10: Help Your Skin
This one is especially important to women. By exercising you will begin to tighten up your skin. Having firm skin reduces the look of skin that starts to sag when we grow older!
Thought of the week: The secrets of success do not work unless you do. – John A. Hamilton, Jr.
Reference: Journal of American Medical Association
Amy McKean is the adult programs director at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA. She can be reached at Amckean23@wmconnect.com