From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life. Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.
Check out these seven ways that exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.
1. Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
Any amount of activity is better than none at all. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.
2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
3. Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to distress after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk walk can help. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
4. Exercise boosts energy
Do you need more energy? Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle tasks.
5. Exercise promotes better sleep
Struggling to fall asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep, deepen your sleep and feel more rested when you wake up. Just don't exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to go to sleep.
6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and increase your confidence about your physical appearance, and boost your sex life. But there's even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise.
7. Exercise can be fun … and social!
Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. They give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting, or even in the gym. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends or family.
The bottom line on exercise
Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better, boost your health and have fun. For most healthy adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. But even small amounts of physical activity are helpful.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, heavy yardwork and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, heavy bags, resistance tubing or resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing.