Mayo Health Care
Thirty Minutes of Exercise a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
¡°Exercise is good for you!¡± If you had a dollar for every time you heard this statement uttered, you'd be rich by now, right? Well, proponents of everyday physical activity aren't just blowing smoke when they repeat this mantra. Medical research has uncovered resounding evidence to back up this ¡°good for you¡± claim. In fact, the U. Surgeon General, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Centers for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion all recommend the same thing when it comes to regular exercise: American adults should aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, and preferably all, days of the week. Inquiring minds want to know, so how exactly will daily exercise impact your health and well-being? Regular physical activity positively affects not only your body but also your mind.
That's right: Exercise simultaneously improves your physical, your emotional and your psychological health. In fact, it's a triple-threat combatant against the physical and mental disorders Americans most often face: heart disease, diabetes, stroke, stress, anxiety and depression, just to name a few. When industry experts stand in staunch agreement, you know it's time to focus your attention on their advice and take their concurring counsel to heart. To that end, consider daily exercise's benefits as purported by three of the leading medical sources: the American Heart Association, the Surgeon General's Report on Exercise and Fitness Management magazine. The American Heart Association (AHA) lists a reduction in the risk of heart disease at the top of its daily physical activity benefit list.
Exercise improves circulation throughout the body and lowers cholesterol, thereby decreasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. The AHA also touts exercise's ability to counteract the health problems plaguing today's young people: obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and poor lifestyle habits. In so doing, it prevents the conditions that lead to heart attacks and strokes later in life. The U. Surgeon General, while echoing the AHA's claims, narrows down physical activity's benefits into specific categories. Overall, he maintains that exercise reduces one's risk of dying prematurely, but explicitly mentions a reduction in heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, depression and anxiety and obesity among its lifesaving advantages. According to the U. Surgeon General, healthier bones muscles and joints as well as improved psychological well-being are some of the other benefits regular exercisers enjoy.
In an article entitled ¡°The Psychological Benefits of Your Exercise Program,¡± Fitness Management magazine further details physical activity's favorable effects on emotional and mental health. In particular, the article cites the following psychological advantages of exercise: 1) It reduces feelings of anxiety, worry, self-doubt and uncertainty about the future; 2) It lower stress levels and the accompanying physical complaints, such as headaches and muscle tension; 3) It energizes, thereby enhancing one's mood; 4) It improves sleep quality; and 5) It improves one's self-image and - confidence by keeping weight down and elevating mood. So, while an apple a day is still sound advice, it seems exercising every day is the new and improved ticket to keeping the doctor away.
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