Why exercise is good for you

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Exercise has so many rewards, like helping to manage your weight, boosting your mood and improving your sleep. Here are some of the most significant benefits…

Healthier heart

Regular workouts lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood cholesterol levels and help to control high blood pressure.

Weight control

Exercise combined with healthy eating can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, by burning off excess calories. Try to be physically active for 30 minutes, most days of the week.

Reduced stress

After your body works hard, stress hormones begin to decrease — resulting in stress and anxiety fading away.

Better sleep

Getting regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. The more you exercise, the more likely you are to have a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do and it doesn’t usually matter when you exercise, as long as you don’t have trouble sleeping afterwards. If you do struggle to nod off after an evening workout, do it earlier in the day.

Better mood

When you work out, your body makes endorphins (“feel-good chemicals”) in the brain. You can actually start to feel better within a few minutes of moving, and regular movement can make you feel consistently happier.

More productive

Want to be more efficient at work? Take a break and get outside. In one study, people who got moving in the middle of the day were much more productive when they went back to work. They also were happier and got along better with their co-workers.

Lower risk of cancer

Regular exercise can cut your risk of some cancers, including colon, breast, and lung cancers. And people with cancer have a better quality of life if they are able to exercise.

Strong bones and muscles

Your bones and muscles get stronger when you work out. It’s especially important to do resistance and weight-bearing type exercise, such as bodyweight exercises, weightlifting, tennis, walking, and dancing. This can help keep bones strong as you get older. It can also help ward off osteoporosis and protect your balance and coordination.

More energy

You might not expect it, but using energy to exercise doesn’t just make you feel tired. It can give you more get-up-and-go. Sometimes when you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is move. But when you exercise regularly, that fatigue goes away, and you find yourself with more energy.

Key sources & further reading

NHS Live Well: Exercise health benefits

31 March, 2023