5 Hidden Benefits of Exercise

September 11th, 2013
5 Hidden Benefits of Exercise

First of all, we know that exercise is good for us but few people in our society regularly perform an exercise routine. I believe we need something to motivate ourselves and something to keep physical activity in our regular routine. We all need to find something that motivates us as an individual. Your primary motivation to exercise is unique to you. Therfore your motivation might be a goal to play with your kids again, decrease the risk of falls, be able to lift things without difficulty, sit through a movie with your family / friends without pain, or return to playing sports.
Identify your primary motivation, write it on a sticky note and place it on your refrigerator. Use pictures of family or any other image that creates a positive association with your health goals. Share your goals with family and friends, which makes you accountable to them. Being reminded constantly of your primary motivation will help you achieve your goals faster. When you stick to it for 3 months, this will form a habit and boost your energy levels so your motivation will snowball. Here are 5 other hidden reasons to increase your motivation:

1) Decrease Pain

Individualized, regular exercise (the kind prescribed by your physical therapist) is a great way to reduce pain. For example, strengthening your core can decrease persistent low back pain and protect against future injury. It’s amazing how many people who seem resigned to a life of chronic pain start to find relief after starting an exercise program.

2) Increase Muscle Tissue

Increased strength allows you to complete your day to day tasks with ease. Imagine if simple things like walking, going up the stairs, picking up groceries, or playing with your children became easier and more enjoyable. What would that do for you?
A well-designed, progressive exercise plan helps tone your muscles.

3) Lose Fat

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The best benefit of exercise is fat loss. It is no secret that a combination of exercise and a balanced meal plan is the best known way to lose fat. Here’s what fat loss can do for you:
 Your clothes fit better
 People around you begin to compliment you on your new appearance
 When you look in the mirror, you look several years younger
 Your energy levels soar
 You feel great!

4) Control Blood Sugar

Regular exercise helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you or someone you know has type 2 diabetes (or is at risk for type 2 diabetes) exercise will help your body to better utilize sugar since exercise positively impacts insulin sensitivity. A combination of weight loss and improved blood glucose control has several health benefits. You should consult your doctor before you begin any exercise with the intention to control your blood sugar.

5) Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels

Exercise helps your heart in 2 ways:
Weak heart muscles pump a relatively small amount of blood with each beat. Essentially, your heart is putting in a lot of effort with every beat. By exercising, you strengthen your heart muscles so they pump more blood with less effort; this decreases the pressure on your arteries.
Secondly, exercise increases HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels in some people. This decreases your risk for heart disease. Other heart disease risk factors such as weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure also improve with regular exercise. You may want to speak with your doctor about your salt intake as well.