Beyond Muscles: 5 Major Benefits Of Regular Exercise

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Why do you exercise? If you’re like a lot of people, you primarily exercise because you know it’s good for you. Then there’s another group of people – those who exercise to achieve specific fitness goals, such as larger muscle mass or a more toned physique. 

Whatever your reason, however, regular exercise also has long-lasting benefits that you shouldn’t discount. When you exercise today, you can reap these 5 benefits down the line.

Reduced Pain

Many adults develop conditions that include some degree of chronic pain as they get older, with such disorders more common in women. Interestingly, though, even if you already have some chronic pain, which can be a deterrent when it comes to exercise, movement can actually reduce your daily pain levels

You don’t have to choose an intense form of movement; even gentle yoga or water aerobics, which is easy on the joints, can make a big difference in how you feel.

Decreased Cancer Risk

We all know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, and various behaviors can increase your risk profile; for example, eating a lot of processed meats can increase your risk of colon cancer. That being said, exercising regularly can decrease your risk of many cancers, including kidney, lung, endometrial, breast, and colon cancers. 

And, once again, it doesn’t have to be intensive exercise. Maintaining a regular routine that includes physical movement is more important than what type of movement your choose.

Mental Health Benefits

Have you ever heard someone talk about runner’s high? While that phenomenon is fairly uncommon and largely restricted to those who run long distances, the underlying premise – that exercise can cause a feeling of elation or other positive emotions – extends to all kinds of activities. Exercise can release dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, improving your mood, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, and even helping with symptoms of ADHD.

Many people with mood disorders, as well as conditions like ADHD and autism, struggle to establish fitness routines, but the good news is there are lots of tools that can help. Working with an online personal trainer, for example, can help you discover activities you enjoy and provide the support you need to be successful.

Better Pregnancy Health

While a woman’s childbearing years may seem fairly brief in the larger scope of one’s lifespan, they come with very specific health concerns and complications that impact the whole family. For women who are physically active, though, the likelihood of complications like gestational diabetes, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, and even postpartum depression are decreased. This takes some of the strain off of pregnancy more generally and can yield better early outcomes for infants, as well. It’s a win-win.

Aging And Memory

Getting older is stressful, and many people stop exercising as they age, but it actually may be even more important for older people to participate in regular physical activity. That’s because staying active can help protect your cognitive function at a time in life when neurological decline can seem to happen overnight. 

Swimming, in particular, has been shown to benefit older adults and since it’s a low-impact exercise, it’s a particularly safe option, even if you have issues like osteoporosis or arthritis.

Physical activity has countless long- and short-term benefits that go well beyond looking buff. If you’re having a hard time getting motivated, then, it might be wise to focus on the long-term benefits, rather than the immediate effort. 

Even moving a little each and every day can keep you feeling your best for years to come.

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