Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health – and that’s one of the reasons why Dr. Julia Ward recommends it to her patients! To make sure you’re convinced it’s worthwhile, let’s look a little deeper at what regular workouts — even shorter, low-impact ones — can do for you.
- Weight loss
Even gentle forms of exercise, like walking and yoga, will burn calories. And if you exercise vigorously, your metabolism will stay revved up long after your workout is over.
- Cardiovascular conditioning
As you perform physical activity, your muscles require oxygen. Your heart has to pump blood to get the oxygen where it’s needed. Over time, the heart gets stronger so that it can get more blood through the body with each pump. This means you don’t get fatigued as easily and can keep doing the activity longer. At the same time, exercise positively influences the health of your arteries, reducing bad cholesterol and improving the production of nitric oxide necessary for keeping the arteries smooth and relaxed. This conditioning helps you even outside your workouts and reduces your odds of heart disease and stroke.
- Better sleep
Although doctors are still studying the exact mechanisms, research shows that people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster, sleep slightly longer, and enjoy higher quality rest. Who couldn’t use more zzzz’s?
- Improved mood
Exercise releases endorphins, those “feel good” hormones that help us deal with tension and stress. Exercise is also a simple distraction. Studies show that exercise can improve symptoms of both depression and anxiety.
- Better mental functioning
As with sleep, professionals are unpacking the “why” behind the improved brain performance that exercise brings. The production of specific hormones and proteins might play a substantial role in supporting better focus and memory.
- Disease control
Exercise can reduce insulin resistance, decreasing the odds that you’ll develop diabetes. It may also have a positive effect on your immune system by changing the release of stress hormones, flushing bacteria out of airways, mildly shifting body temperature, and helping antibodies and white blood cells circulate well.
Exercise does not require any fancy equipment, tons of space, or even lots of time. Even a 30-minute walk with your dog or a race with your toddler will help!
If you’re not sure where to start, contact Balanced Body Image today. Dr. Ward will work with you to develop an exercise and nutrition plan for a happier, healthier you!