Exercise Extends Life, Assists Weight LossJuly 30, 2010
(Article first published as Exercise Assists Weight Loss Goals, Increases Life Span on Technorati.)
The health of Americans has been slowly declining for the past half century, due in part to the dramatic rise in processed junk foods which comprise the bulk of our diet, and a general lack of physical activity. Many children and young adults will find they are part of the first generation to live shorter lives when compared to their parents.
Medical researchers have made great strides over the last 10 years discovering how detrimental a poor diet and lack of exercise can be to our health, and regularly promote a well balanced, reduced calorie diet and regular physical activity. This advice is underscored by the results of a large study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology which showed that moderate physical activity reduces all causes of death by as much as 24%, and assists in promoting healthy weight loss goals.
Moderate Exercise 5 Days a Week
The results of this study are important because they demonstrate that people can begin exercise at any age and begin to realize the life-extension benefits. Weight loss is another critical consideration, as regular exercise improves blood sugar and insulin response which leads to the release of body fat.
This study showed that exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week provides almost the same benefit as those who exercised an hour each day, every day of the week. The bottom line is to get moving, regardless of your age. Our muscles have evolved to be active, and when we’re sedentary, the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes increase by as much as 50%. U.S. News and World Report details the 5 essential benefits of exercise to your health.
1. Reverses the Effects of Stress
Stress is an unseen killer which increases levels of the ‘fight or flight’ hormone cortisol on a sustained basis. Exercise promotes the release of calming brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which naturally reverse the effects of stress. Lowering cortisol will naturally assist weight loss, as inflammation will be reduced, and metabolism will shift toward burning fat.
2. Lifts Depression
Burning 350 calories by exercising 3 days a week has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of depression as well as an antidepressant. Exercise can stimulate the growth of neurons in the brain, and restores connections between brain cells. Antidepressants are dangerous drugs with a host of potential side effects. Exercise will help you to feel better about yourself which helps you stick with your healthy eating plan.
3. Exercise Improves Learning
Physical activity increases the release of brain chemicals called growth factors which improves the communication between cells. Not only does regular exercise improve muscle tone, it also challenges the brain, possibly helping to prevent devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
4. Improves Self-Esteem and Body Image
Exercise naturally tones and conditions your muscles and improves the processing of sugar for use as energy instead of fat storage. Nothing will power you toward your weight loss goal better than looking in the mirror at your newly sculpted body.
5. Leaves You with a Natural High
People who exercise regularly, especially with short-burst interval training, experience a euphoric feeling which only comes from physical activity. Run, bike, jog, walk or swim intensely for 30 to 40 seconds, then slow down for 5 minutes and repeat. This has been shown to leave you feeling great, and is the optimal form of exercise to deliver weight loss results.
Regular physical activity is a necessary compliment to a healthy, carbohydrate restricted diet. Exercise stimulates the production of chemical messengers which help to lift mood and fight depression, and provides critical support to metabolic functions. Most importantly, just a little exercise each day will reduce risk of disease, lengthen your life and lead to natural, permanent weight loss.