the benefits of exercise

The benefits of exercise can effect every part of our body. Exercising on a regular basis makes us feel good both mentally and physically. As we age exercising becomes increasingly important to prevent disease and disabilities. There are different types of exercises and each type benefits us in different ways.


Three types of exercises are recommended successful aging:

1) Aerobic Exercises, also referred to as Cardiovascular Exercises, raise heart rate and breathing and should be sustained for at least 20 minutes. Aerobic activity strengthens the heart and lungs, burns calories, reduces stress, increases energy. Examples are: brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cross training, stair climbing, and bicycling.

2) Strength Training Exercises or Anaerobic exercise is high intensity exercise performed for a short period of time, using resistance methods like weights. It builds muscle mass and strength and helps increase bone density and bone strength, as well as increased metabolic rate. Stronger muscles and bones mean improved posture, stronger back, improved balance and increased tone. Improved metabolic rate means your body burns calories more efficiently. Examples include: weight lifting, push-ups, pull-ups, rope jumping and isometrics. How much strength training should you do? Work up to 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week, working on all major muscle groups – arms, legs, shoulders, and trunk.

3) Stretching Exercise increases flexibility, reduces muscle tension, improves your range of movement and prevents injury. Improved flexibility will help improve coordination and balance and generally help improve your ability to perform daily tasks. Stretching lowers the risk of injury when participating in sports or any other activity. Stretch everyday for about 5 minutes and especially before and after cardio and strength training exercises. Examples of simple stretches that you can do any time include: rolling your head, shoulders, wrists and ankles in both directions, twisting your torso, stretching out your fingers and folding into a tight fist. Stretching should not be painful, but it should cause some slight discomfort. 

middle aged woman doing sit ups on fitness core training ball- Dreamstime royalty free stock photography

If you want to continue to move and function independently 10-15 years down the road, exercise is a must, now more than ever. After about the age of 25 muscle mass begins to decline. Most muscle loss comes from lack of use, not aging. So, even if you have never exercised, it's not too late to start building muscles and regain strength as well as energy.



some examples of the wonderful benefits of exercise:

  • Helps improve overall fitness and attitude
  • If you suffer from osteopenia or osteoporosis, you might think that exercise can be dangerous for you. The opposite is true. A regular exercise program can strengthen your bones as well as the muscles that surround and support them.
  • Exercise is a vital part of arthritis treatments to improve joint function
  • Physical activity improves circulation and strengthens heart muscles, improves blood flow and oxygen to muscles, and lowers cholesterol
  • Brain fitness can be improved through exercise. More oxygen reaches the brain, leading to improved thinking and memory. Studies show exercise may decrease the occurrence of dementia.
  • Daily exercise can relieve stress
  • Problems of the digestive system such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation can be greatly relieved with a regular exercise program.
  • Sleep better. Just make sure you exercise at least 4 hours before you go to bed.
  • Flexibility and balance will improve as you strengthen your lower body muscles.
  • Improved muscle tone helps you look healthier and thinner.
  • Exercising increases energy levels because blood circulation improves and more oxygen and nutrients are supplied to all parts of your body.

Whether you prefer to walk, play tennis, exercise in the privacy of your home or join a health club, the important thing is to participate in some kind of physical activity at least 3 days a week (preferably 5 or 6). Try to choose a variety of activities that implement the three types of exercise mentioned above.

Don't deny yourself the chance to reap the benefits of exercise. Your body will love you for it!


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