Many people find that it helps to stick with an exercise program if they have more than one goal in mind. If you heard about a pill that would help you live longer, feel better, look better, be healthier and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers, would you take it? How much would you be willing to pay for it? Well, there is something that will do all of these things, but it is not about taking a pill. It’s completely natural and it’s free.
GUESS WHAT? IT’S EXERCISE.
Still interested? You have heard many times that exercise helps lower your blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure, but perhaps that has not been enough to get you to exercise. Maybe you started to exercise but did not keep it up. If so, you are not alone. About half of the people who start to exercise have stopped within three to six months. There are lots of reasons why people have a hard time sticking with exercise. It takes time and effort and often takes several weeks before you begin to see a difference.
NEED SOME REASONS TO EXERCISE? HOW ABOUT THESE?
Live longer. In a study, people who exercised were compared with others like them in just about every other way (age, gender, ethnicity). The study showed that those who exercised lived longer. The more they moved, the longer they lived. If you exercise, you will not only live longer, you will likely be healthier and your quality of life will be better.
Get more done. A study showed that people who took a 30 minute exercise break at work reported that they were more productive and better able to handle the stress of their jobs. The exercise did not have to be hard—30 minutes of walking, yoga or strength-training at lunch time was all it took. Workers in another study reported they were better able to meet deadlines and that they were mentally sharper and more alert on days they exercised.
Ease back pain. Sitting all day takes a toll on your back. Exercise has been shown to ease chronic low back pain, with yoga being the exercise that helped the most.
Build stronger joints. When you exercise, you strengthen the muscles that support your joints. People who exercise have fewer problems with joint pain, especially in their knees.
Prevent dementia. People with diabetes are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. No one is quite sure why this happens, but it may be caused by the effect of blood glucose levels on brain cells. Exercise protects the cells against the stress and effects of the glucose.
Ease depression. Depression is about twice as common among people with diabetes. Studies have shown that people who are clinically depressed and exercise report an increased sense of well-being after exercise.
Ease stress. The same is true for stress. Exercise releases endorphins, or happy hormones, that help fight the effects of stress hormones that appear in your body during difficult moments.
Lower your risk for some cancers. People with diabetes are more likely to have colon cancer and breast cancer. Not being active is another risk factor for these cancers. Exercise lowers your risk.
Get rid of hidden fat. Exercise helps decrease the amount of fat on the outside of your body and on the inside. Fat around your organs, or “fat,” increases your risk for heart disease and strokes. Your bathroom scale reading may not change, but the drop in your body fat total will help you be healthier.