Step 2: The benefits of exercise
Next Page

Exercise begins to have a positive effect almost as soon as you start. For one thing, exercise makes your brain release "endorphins" — hormones that make you feel good. This can help you enjoy the exercise and may improve your mood for several hours after your workout. Another benefit is that your muscles, having worked hard, can relax more easily. This helps you feel relaxed all over. And, of course, you'll probably feel good about what you are doing for yourself.

The benefits of being in shape

In addition to the immediate rewards, there are many possible long-term benefits to reap from a more active lifestyle. Over time, your muscles will get stronger. Your heart and lungs will get stronger, too, and work more efficiently. Your bones will become denser, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Endurance increases, making most physical activities easier. And balance improves, lowering the risk of falls and fractures as you get older. You are also likely to experience less anxiety and depression and feel more self-assured.

Prevent and manage chronic diseases

Regular exercise can help PREVENT high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and, possibly, stroke. You are also taking steps to reduce your risk of some forms of cancer, such as colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Research has also shown that exercise benefits people with mild-to-moderate depression.

Exercise can also help you manage certain chronic conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. Further, your blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart rate all may drop to healthier levels if needed. Talk to your doctor about what is safe and best for you.

Lose weight

Exercise helps you shed extra pounds, particularly from fat, and, more importantly, tone muscles to increase your body's fitness. You're likely to experience less hunger. In addition, your metabolism will probably increase (the system that regulates how many calories you burn while resting), making it easier to stay lean.

"My doctor told me that I should exercise regularly, but I couldn't have predicted all the ways that it would influence my life. Not only do I feel better physically, but I am more outgoing, optimistic, and feel better about myself than I did before I started."

-- Richard, age 49

 

Main Menu


Review Date: 3/12/2007

Reviewed By: Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

Related Links
Find a Doctor
Request an Appointment Online or call
800-789-PENN (7366)
Medical Services
Visitor Information
Encyclopedia Articles

 

   
   

 

About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania space