The Health Benefits of Exercise: It Goes Far Beyond Weight Loss
Many individuals have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. While weight loss is a great goal in and of itself, the way we achieve that goal is important as well.
It is true that without a healthy diet, exercise alone will not be as effective in achieving your weight loss goals, but this misses the bigger picture. A healthy lifestyle is what we should really be after, and weight loss is a by-product of that. And toward that end, regular exercise is not only important, it is essential.
Aside from being a contributing factor to weight loss, there are several other health benefits individuals receive from regular exercise. Here are five of them:
Reduced Risk of Numerous Health Conditions: Exercise is one of the single most preventable factors for a wide number of lifestyle-related diseases and health conditions. Examples include high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, back pain, and osteoporosis.
Reduced Stress: When we exercise, our brain releases endorphins, which make us feel lighter and more relaxed. In addition, as we exercise regularly, we start to see improvements in our physical appearance, which improves our mood and builds our self-esteem.
Increased Energy: It seems counterintuitive, but exercise does not drain our energy, it actually increases it. It is true that at the end of a hard workout, we initially feel exhausted. However, as the day goes on, we tend to have far more energy. This is because exercise helps build muscle, improve endurance, and it sends more oxygen and nutrients to your cells.
Helps Keep the Weight Off: Most of us have experienced the cycle of losing weight and gaining it back within a short period of time. This often happens when someone starts a new diet, sticks to it for a few weeks, then for whatever reason, falls back to old eating habits. When exercise is incorporated into a weight loss plan, it involves a more radical lifestyle change. And as long as you keep exercising regularly, it is much harder to put the weight back on.
Provides a Fun Way to Socialize: Exercise is something that can be done alone or with a group. Either way, it can be fun, and in a group setting (such as playing a sport or taking a fitness class) it can be a great way to stay connected to others. This is one of the major reasons company wellness benefit programs work so well. By giving employees incentives to exercise and stay healthy, they build stronger bonds at work. This not only reduces health care costs, it also boosts productivity.
If losing weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2018, do not discount the numerous benefits exercise will provide toward accomplishing this goal. If you incorporate regular exercise into your routine, you will not only start to experience weight loss, you will begin cultivating a lifestyle that will help you stay healthy and fit for the long term.