I have finally decided to participate in Thursday Thirteen, a meme where you write 13 things about yourself, or something else. For this first week I give you thirteen reasons to exercise regularly:
- Improves your mood. Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals, which may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. Exercise even reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Increases energy and endurance. People who work out regularly have more energy, strength and endurance to get through their daily activities than those who don’t exercise. In fact, you will likely notice this feeling of increased energy and vitality a few short weeks after you start to exercise on a regular basis.
- Improves confidence. If you’re out of shape and start working out, you’ll gain muscle tone, strength, stamina, and you’ll feel better emotionally. This will inevitably give your self-image and self-confidence a boost, which is often one of the best motivators to stick to a workout program.
- Helps you sleep better. Working out helps you fall and stay asleep more easily, and it increases the amount of time you spend in the deepest stage of sleep. It also improves the quality of your sleep by making the transitions between its cycles smoother and more regular.
- Helps you manage your weight. Well DUH! on this one.
- Improves mental acuity. Many studies have proven that people who work out on a regular basis have better memory, reaction time and concentration than their sedentary counterparts. And it doesn’t take much: walking for 45 minutes three times a week is enough to improve your degree of mental sharpness. Aerobic activity stimulates the middle-frontal and superior parietal regions of the brain, which are associated with attention and keeping goals in mind.
- Strengthens your heart and lungs. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular exercise helps your entire cardiovascular system — the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels — work more efficiently.
- Improves sexual performance. Regular exercise can increase sexual drive, activity and satisfaction. Physical endurance and muscle tone improve sexual functioning, and exercise jump-starts the sympathetic nervous system, which increases blood flow to the genital area. This reason should be strong enough for everybody to be exercising, right?
- Slows the aging process. Most people lose 10% of their aerobic capacity each year after the age of 30. However, regular exercise can actually make you more aerobically fit as you get older. Working out also improves skin and muscle tone, increases flexibility and reduces the risk of many age-related diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke.
- Strengthens and boosts your immune system. Various studies have shown that working out improves immune function. In teenage and adults, exercise is a powerful natural immune cell stimulator. Regular, moderate cardio workouts, such as jogging, walking or cycling, can partly offset the immune function decline in healthy older people.
- Reduces the risk of breast cancer up to 60%. Estradiol and progesterone, two ovarian hormones linked to breast cancer tumor production are lowered in the body by exercise. A womans body is most susceptible to these hormones during the time between ovulation and menstruation. Habitual exercise can actually delay ovulation until later in the menstrual cycle. This reduces the time she must fight these hormones. Fat has long been known to be a catalyst in the production of estrogen (estradiol). Regular exercise burns body fat and thus decreases the rate of estrogen production.
- Can be a good excuse to spend quality time with your family. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, it counts!
- Reduces the risk of many diseases. The best reason of all to work out regularly is that it reduces your risk of many serious and potentially deadly diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, colon cancer, stroke, heart attack, and arthritis.
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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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