We know that staying active has physical benefits, like maintaining a healthy weight and lowering your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and more, but exercise is about more than the physical. It can also improve your mental and emotional health.
Physical Health Improvements
The most obvious benefit of regular exercise is the physical. In addition to weight loss, being active can:
- Increase energy and reduce fatigue
- Help older adults with their balance and strength so they can stay independent for longer
- Prevent certain cancers and other ailments like stroke and arthritis
- Improve sleep
Mental and Emotional Health
Exercise releases endorphins that can boost your mood and reduce or even prevent anxiety and depression. It can also make your brain stronger by improving cognitive function. This is particularly important as we age because our brain benefits from being challenged regularly.
Being active gives you some control over your life- something that may seem out of reach if you’re suffering from anxiety or depression. It’s one thing you can do each and every day to take care of yourself and keep yourself on a positive path. Exercise is one of the most important forms of self-care we can practice.
Choosing a Type of Exercise
If you aren’t used to exercising regularly, you may think that joining a gym is the only way to stay physically fit. The good news is, there are many ways to get active. You can:
- Take a walk
- Ride a bike
- Dance around your house
- Sign up for a sport
- Practice yoga or meditation
- Perform everyday tasks like gardening, mowing the lawn, or playing in the yard with your children
The important thing is to choose something you enjoy doing so that you stick to it. Change up the type of exercise you do periodically so you don’t get bored. This also challenges different muscle groups so your body sees the most benefit from the exercise you’re doing.
Exercise really can improve all areas of your life, so give it a try!