Exercise to Improve Your Health, Not Just Your Weight 

The standard exercise recommendation for good health is a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week, plus muscle strengthening activities at least two times per week. ‘Good health’ does not just mean reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise has many additional health benefits—making it a daily priority can help improve your quality of life all around.

Manage Mental Health. Have you ever heard of a runner’s high? Studies have shown that exercise can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression by increasing the production of endorphins in your body. These endorphins improve your mood by triggering an overall positive attitude. 

Maintain Bone health. Bones behave similarly to muscles as you age. If you don’t use them, they will decrease in mass, which could lead to health issues like osteoporosis. The best exercises for maintaining bone density are weight-bearing and resistance workouts. 

Reduce Risk of Chronic Illness. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a higher risk for chronic illness like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Meeting the recommendation for exercise can help reduce your risk by reducing belly fat and strengthening your heart muscle. If you have a family history of any chronic illness, it’s especially important to maintain physical fitness. 

Make Social Connections. Regularly attending an exercise class or implementing a fitness routine is a great way to become a part of a new community. You’ll meet new friends who are also health minded. Plus, you can hold each other accountable for showing up to your workouts. 

Set a Good Example. If you have people in your life who look up to you, incorporating fitness into your daily routine can make a positive impression. If your friends and family members see you working out every day, they are more likely to incorporate exercise into their lives. Working out together is also a great way to get in some quality time! 

Get Better Sleep. The stresses of your day may make it difficult to relax and fall asleep at night. If you struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep, exercise could be your new best friend. Various studies over the years have linked exercise to longer, better sleep.  

Not sure where to get started? Start with reasonable goals that you can build from and find classes or routines that you’ll enjoy and look forward to. 

Written by: Jen Cole