The most common reasons you are told to lose weight include:
- To help you to lose weight or maintain your weight
- To reduce the risk of disease
The current guidelines for exercise are a bit confusing. Some experts say that just 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week is enough to reduce the risk of some chronic diseases. Others say that specifically 2 ½ hours of moderate exercise or 1 ½ hours of very vigorous exercise are enough to offset disease, as long as you also include some days of weight training. A recent report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggest that only about 5% of Americans engage in (vigorous) exercise on any given day.
Well, if you need more reasons or a different incentive to exercise, consider the following three:
- (1) Exercise can sharpen the mind - Three different studies recently showcased evidence that exercise helps keep your mind sharp as you age. Another study suggested that yoga and swimming in midlife can help an aging brain to reduce the risk of developing memory, language or thinking problems.
- (2) Exercise helps you to sleep better - A small recent study suggested that regular exercise can help improve sleep for insomniacs, and 30-40% of adults currently complain of some form of insomnia. Of those who suffered from insomnia in the small study, a significant number reported longer and deeper sleep experiences after 16 weeks of increased exercise (participants did 40 minutes of exercise, 4 times/week).
- (3) Exercise can help to improve balance - Every year one in three elderly adults will fall and sustain moderate to severe injuries from the fall. So improving flexibility and stability are of paramount importance, particularly as we age. Various types of exercise can improve the likelihood that you will preserve your balance.
Let me add a personal forth reason. In these challenging times of economic and professional instability, exercise provides a positive outlet for negative feelings. Feel like hitting someone because your professional, financial or personal life is experiencing serious challenges? Take some boxing or kickboxing classes instead. Or channel the negativity you're feeling by taking a brisk walk, jog or intense bike ride. Or take it a step further and set an exercise goal like running a 5K. The discipline of pursuing that exercise goal may just spill over into your professional life, helping you to organize and set goals for the future as well.
Published On: November 18, 2010