Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex, or physical ability.
For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following:
- At least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Even small amounts of physical activity in short bursts are helpful and provide health benefits.
- Strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least 2–3 times a week.
- If you want to lose weight, meet specific fitness goals. To get even more benefits, you may need to ramp up your moderate aerobic activity to 300 minutes or more a week.
Check out these six ways exercise can make you feel better, boost your health, and have fun.
1. Exercise Improves Mood
Do you need an emotional lift or to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout session or brisk walk can help. Exercise and physical activity stimulate various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed, and less anxious. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can improve your self-esteem and boost your confidence.
2. Exercise Boosts Energy
Are you winded walking up stairs or doing household chores and yard work? Regular physical activity can boost your endurance and improve your muscle strength. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.
3. Exercise Reduces Risk of Diseases & Combats Health Conditions
Are you worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? Being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression & anxiety, stroke, many types of cancer, and arthritis.
4. Exercise Controls Weight
Exercise can help maintain weight loss or help prevent excess weight gain. When you exercise or do physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Any amount of physical activity is better than none at all. Even if you exercise in 5–10 minute increments.
5. Exercise Promotes Better Sleep
Are you struggling to sleep or snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep, and even deepen your sleep. However, exercising right before bedtime may cause you to be too energized to go to sleep.
6. Exercise Can Be Enjoyable, Fun... and Social!
Getting fit may be easier than you think. Do what you love whether it is dancing, walking, hiking the great outdoors, bike riding, or rolling around the yard with your kids. Invite a friend or family member to join you or connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. If you’re busy, don’t let it stop you, just fit more activity into the things you already do every day—whether at home or the office.