Regular exercise can help protect you from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can improve your mood and help you to better manage stress.

For the greatest overall health benefits, experts recommend that you do 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle strengthening activity and stretching at least twice a week. However, if you are unable to do this level of activity, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week.

Helps reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke - Lowers high blood pressure - Helps reduce weight and body fat - Helps reduce risk of some cancers - Reduces anxiety and depression and improves your mood and mental well-being - Helps control joint swelling and pain from arthritis - Gives you more energy - Helps you sleep better - Helps you look better - Improves bone density and helps reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis - Helps those people who are recovering from a period of ill-health

Increased Self-Esteem: Gaining control of your body size and weight through fitness is an amazing way to increase self-esteem. You look better and are more confident which empowers you in everything you do. You will find that the self-discipline required and learned through regular exercise spills over into other areas of your life and you will be better able to make other necessary and desireable changes.

Decreased Risk of Osteoporosis: Regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and can even reverse it buy building bone tissue!

You don't have to be suffering from a clinical or diagnosed Mental Illness to get substantial mental health benefits from exercise and fitness. One study found that short workouts of 8 minutes in length could help lower sadness, tension and anger along with improving resistance to disease in healthy people. Many people exercise to boost confidence along with reducing anxiety and stress, all of which contribute to psychological health and well-being.

Exercise has been shown to improve cognitive functioning via improvement of hippocampus-dependent spatial learning, and enhancement of synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. In addition, physical activity has been shown to be neuroprotective in many neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases.For instance, it reduces the risk of developing dementia. Physical activity is thought to have other beneficial effects related to cognition as it increases levels of nerve growth factors, which support the survival and growth of a number of neuronal cells.

Regular activity also promises mental-health benefits, like relieving stress and anxiety. It can help you sleep better and renew your energy. If exercise could be bottled, it would be a best-selling potion at the local pharmacy.

Elements of Fitness

There are four basic elements of physical fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. Each can be measurably improved with regular exercise. But keep in mind that exercising to build fitness is not the same thing as working out to improve athletic performance. To be truly fit, you should develop all four elements, not just one or two.

Benefits of Strength Training:

• Increased muscular strength
• Increased strength of tendons and ligaments
• Potentially improves flexibility (range of motion of joints)
• Reduced body fat and increased lean body mass (muscle mass)
• Potentially decreases resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure

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