Exercise is a key part of any healthy lifestyle. Exercise can help you lose weight, improve your health and well-being, improve your mental state and outlook, and improve your social interactions. There is also strong evidence that regular exercise reduces the risks of common diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. It helps to keep many people physically fit and emotionally healthy. One recent study even suggested that exercise could make the difference between a happy life and a miserable one!
How does exercise affect your mood? The results of recent studies seem to indicate that the physical benefits of exercising far outweigh the small benefits of improving your mood through exercise. One recent study even asked 26 otherwise healthy people who normally exercised very regularly to either keep exercising or stop exercising for just two weeks.
Of the participants, 70% found that they did not lose any more weight than those who maintained a low-intensity exercise regime. But they did report less depression, improved sleep, improved immune function and enhanced mental health. And in this study, the participants who exercise the most were able to get older while the others got significantly older.
We can’t all start out with high-intensity workouts, and then give up on our health later. But if we choose wisely, we can choose an exercise regime that offers us the benefits of physical activity, without too much stress or difficulty. Low intensity exercise offers the same benefits, in a less demanding way. As we age, low-impact exercise is particularly important because we become used to a lower level of force and begin to lose strength at a faster rate.
So how can you decide how intense to exercise? Exercise intensity can be evaluated by using a pedometer or other device to measure heart rate. It’s better to use the number of calories you burn in a day, instead of the number of calories you consume in a day. For people who want to get in shape and maintain their health, a recommended maximum heart rate is around seventy-five to eighty percent of maximum heart rate that would be enjoyed during vigorous physical activity. But you don’t have to get to this figure, and many exercise plans will recommend that you find your own personal maximum heart rate.
In short, the answer to the question of whether or not exercise improves your health is “yes.” Americans are becoming less physically active and more sedentary than ever before. Sedentary habits directly lead to health problems like obesity and diabetes, and even some kinds of cancer. The good news is that there is a lot that can be done to reverse the trend toward decreased physical activity and increased sedentary. The key is choosing an exercise program that is fun, interesting, and will get you moving and doing something!