Author: Jeanine Mathis
What does heart disease, brain function, cold and flu, cancer, bone density and type 2 diabetes have in common? Not much, except the fact that regular exercise improves or alleviates each one of these issues. Find out how exercise will benefit your health in six different ways.
1. Regular Exercise Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
A study done over a twenty year period involving 72,000 female nurses showed that walking 30 minutes a day lowered the risk of heart disease in women by 30%-40%. If you don't have a gym membership, get out and walk. Walking has been around since the beginning of time and you don't need to learn any special skills; after all, walking is something you already know how to do. Nothing is better for your heart or clears the mind better than a brisk walk and some outdoor scenery.
2. Regular Exercise Improves Brain Function
It is estimated that the brain loses an average of 15% -25% of its tissue between the ages of 30 and 90 but exercise may improve these odds. The Journal of the American Medical Association had a study involving 2,257 retired men ages 71-93, and found that those who walked less than a quarter of a mile every day were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia compared to men who walked more than two miles a day.
3. Regular Exercise Will Reduce the Number of Sick Days.
When the cold and flu season approaches everyone is looking for a remedy that will keep them from getting a cold or flu. Favorite cold and flu remedies include orange juice, chicken soup, or a mega-dose of vitamin C. But here's a thought; exercise every day and you will get less sick. David Nieman, professor of health and exercise science at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. did a study in which he compared overweight, sedentary women, who began a program of brisk walking for 45 minutes, five days a week, with a group of sedentary women doing no exercise. He found the walkers suffered only half as many sick days for colds as the sedentary group.
4. Regular Exercise Reduces Cancer Risk
One way to decrease your risk of cancer is to exercise regularly. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that postmenopausal women who regularly exercised reduced their risk of breast cancer by about 20%. Moderate to vigorous activity will reduce the risk of colon cancer 30%-40%. It appears that 30-60 minutes of exercise a day is needed to decrease this risk.
Leukemia Group B did a study, according to the American Cancer Society, of 800 men and women who had third stage colon cancer, but were considered cancer free after receiving chemotherapy treatment. When researchers checked the participants' health 2-3 years later, compared with the less active members of the study, they had cut their risk of cancer or death by 40%-50% by doing moderate physical activities on a regular basis. This benefit held true despite differences in age, gender, height, or weight
5. Regular Strength Training Will Increase Bone Density.
Increasing bone density is important in the prevention of osteoporosis. Physical activity increases blood flow to the bones and stimulates bone tissue, which then causes growth of new bone. Doing low impact exercises such as swimming or biking doesn't provide enough resistance to increase bone density. Weight lifting places physical stress on the body causing the bones and muscles to respond by becoming stronger. Weight lifting can be done using dumbbells, or even by lifting heavy packages on a regular basis.
6. Regular Strength Training Will Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The main fuel used when lifting weights is glucose that is stored as muscle glucose. Strength training helps to reduce blood glucose by using it from the blood and muscle during exercise. Building extra muscle also allows a bigger storage area for muscle glucose. Lifting weights fundamentally improves the body's ability to process glucose, which is important in managing type 2 diabetes. It is important that someone with diabetes exercise under a doctor's guidance due to fluctuating blood insulin levels.
Jeanine has a diverse interest in health topics and she strives to present information in a clear and easy to read format. For more health tips check out Jeanine's blog, Health Outlook at http://www.health-outlook.com Health Outlook discusses topics relevant to every day life such as weight loss, exercise, health foods, antioxidants, health problems and more.