What is the single, most important thing one can do to achieve overall wellness? Experts believe the answer to that question is exercise. Exercise affects a person's mental and physical well being. For our bodies to perform at its maximum, a well planned exercise regimen is crucial. The absence of exercise leads to a variety of health related problems. Knowing what exercise can do to our total well being can better motivate us to make exercise a part of our daily life.

Exercise benefits the heart by enabling it to pump blood more efficiently. It is the primary duty of the heart to make sure that all body parts receive an adequate amount of oxygenated blood. The heart is a muscle and the more you exercise it by doing cardio exercises, the stronger it becomes. Lungs become stronger and lung capacity is increased. People who exercise have more energy and feel lighter. This is because your muscles carry your weight. Bones improve with aerobic, weight bearing and strength training exercises. Weights increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis. Exercise is also beneficial in the management and prevention of Type II diabetes, arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

Psychological and emotional benefits of exercise include improved mental alertness and perception, improved self esteem, a greater sense of self reliance, decreased tension and reduced frustration. Most people go through a maze of problems and stress at any time in their life. Exercising, however, can help to improve mood, increase optimism and promote calmness. The hormone endorphin, which is released during exercise, blocks the feelings of pain and create feelings of euphoria. This hormone is responsible for runners' high and is the reason why exercise is addictive. Psychological benefits are as important as the physiologic. Exercisers report improved moods, relieved chronic stress patterns and sharpened concentration. This is invaluable for people who suffer from depression and anxiety.

Aesthetic benefits of exercise are the benefits that one can readily appreciate. Muscles become leaner and longer, your skin glows and your movements are more graceful. The improvements in one's appearance can be attributed to the psychological and physical benefits of exercise. When we feel good, this becomes evident in our physical appearance. The more we like what we see in the mirror, the higher our self esteem and appreciation of ourselves.

The inclusion of exercise in your daily activities will make a world of difference to your health. As with all other endeavors, it will be a little difficult at first. As you go along and your strength builds up, it will become easy. You will look forward to your daily exercises and begin to enjoy what exercise can do for you.

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