Regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of a variety of health problems. It can help you control your weight and prevent obesity. It can also increase your bone and muscle strength and slow the onset of chronic diseases.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to break more easily than they should. Studies show that regular exercise can prevent osteoporosis and help you build healthy bones.
You should do weight-bearing exercises, like walking and jogging. Avoid exercises that cause you to bend or twist your spine, such as swimming and stationary biking.
Studies show that regular physical activity helps people stay at a healthy weight, lower their risk of disease, and strengthen their bones. It can also improve moods and boost immune function.
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Exercise may help prevent obesity, even among people who are genetically predisposed to gain weight. This is because being active boosts healthy HDL cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. Added benefits include improved concentration levels and less stress.
3. Type 2 diabetes
Exercise optimizes the way the body regulates glucose, or blood sugar, and makes the body more sensitive to insulin, del Pozo Cruz says. Regular exercise may also reverse pre-diabetes and help people keep their weight in check, which can reduce the risk of diabetes symptoms.
High blood sugar can damage blood vessels, leading to heart disease and amputation. Eating a diet low in carbohydrates (replacing soda, candy, and desserts with whole fruits and vegetables and whole-grain bread and pasta) helps prevent diabetes.
4. High cholesterol
High cholesterol is a buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) in the blood vessels that can block oxygen flow to the heart and brain. This can cause a stroke or heart disease.
Regular exercise, including muscle-strengthening exercises, can help reduce high cholesterol. So can eating healthily and giving up smoking.
Regular exercise paired with a healthy diet, a normal weight, and no smoking provides protection against heart attack and stroke, research has shown.
5. Heart disease
Heart disease, which develops when plaque narrows or blocks the arteries that deliver oxygen to the heart muscle, is a leading cause of death. Regular exercise lowers risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, helps maintain a healthy weight, and decreases stress and depression.
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Exercise increases the strength of the heart, reducing its workload and helping it pump more blood with each contraction. It also strengthens the body’s other blood vessels.
A growing body of research links regular exercise with a lower risk of cancer. Moderate to vigorous activity (anything that causes you to sweat and makes your heart beat faster) is ideal. Examples include walking, swimming, cycling, and jogging.
Being active lowers the levels of hormones that encourage cancer cells to grow, such as estrogen and insulin. It also helps you keep a healthy weight, which reduces your risk for 13 different types of cancer, including breast and bowel cancer.
7. High blood pressure
When your heart beats, it pushes blood through a system of tube-shaped blood vessels called arteries. This pressure, which is measured with a systolic and diastolic blood pressure reading, is what makes up your blood pressure.
Keeping up with regular exercise can lower your blood pressure. But check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for physical activity before starting.
Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and fatigue. It may also lead to reduced activity, which can further damage the joints.
Regular exercise can help manage arthritis by strengthening the muscles around the affected joint, decreasing bone loss, and lubricating joints. Exercise can also enhance energy, improve sleep, and increase stamina.
People with arthritis should pay attention to how they feel during and after exercise, which can signal whether they are working too hard or overdoing it.