There are many reasons to exercise, but most of them are generally related to health-related benefits. Some of the benefits include increased cardiovascular health, increased bone strength, and reduced risks for obesity. Exercise can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in some individuals.
Exercise is something that should be a part of everyone’s daily life. The Centers for Disease Control recommend 150 minutes (2 hours) per week at a moderate intensity level or 75 minutes per week at a vigorous intensity level. This includes aerobic and strength training exercises. It is recommended to increase this time if appropriate, especially in persons who are at risk for chronic diseases.
Benefits of Exercise
1. Improved cardiovascular health
Oxygen is carried through the body by the hemoglobin in red blood cells. Blood vessels are lined with a layer of cells, called endothelium that aids in the ability of blood to flow. Endothelium benefits from exercise and helps reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke due to increased blood flow throughout the body.
2. Increased bone density (stronger bones)
Strong bones help prevent osteoporosis and fractures. Many sports and activities that involve jumping or running can help increase bone density. Even weight-bearing exercises such as walking are beneficial to bone health.
3. Reduced risk of diseases related to obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Exercise can also prevent diabetes, especially if combined with a healthy diet. Exercise reduces blood pressure and levels of harmful cholesterol in the blood, which are two risk factors for heart disease.
4. Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety when it is part of a treatment program. Exercise can also be used as a tool in the treatment of depression, with some studies including exercise as an active element in the treatment.
5. Improved mental health/functioning.
There are issues that can occur with the brain such as memory loss and dementia. Exercise can reduce the chances of developing these issues.
By participating in moderate to vigorous exercise for 30 minutes per day, three days per week, individuals would achieve the recommended time for cardiorespiratory fitness. It is recommended to exercise for more than the minimum required time if at risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.