19 ways regular exercise can change your life

If you exercise regularly, you will experience a large number of benefits to your health. All the following advantages associated with exercise are also linked with reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Regular exercise lowers total cholesterol levels and levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol, while boosting levels of "good" HDL cholesterol and reducing plaque buildup in your arteries.

19 ways regular exercise can change your life

1. Benefits of regular exercise:

  • It keeps weight down and reduces body fat.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It boosts your heart rate while you are in the process of exercising — providing a cardiovascular workout — but lowers it in the long term, meaning that your cardiac capacity and fitness improve.
  • It improves circulation and breathing, so your heart and lungs work more efficiently and you get more oxygen to vital organs and tissues.
  • It stabilizes blood sugar and improves glucose metabolism, thereby lowering the risk of diabetes.
  • It relieves stress and anxiety (which is important for lowering the risk of heart disease).
  • It boosts mood and reduces depression by releasing endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals.
  • And it may also improve any decline in mental alertness associated with depression.
  • It keeps you socially active as you can enjoy many different classes with others your own age.
  • It helps you to sleep better.

2. Keep physically active for more benefits

  • It halves the risk of hip fracture among people over 45 and combats the crippling bone disease osteoporosis, reducing your chance of disability and dependence in old age.
  • It reduces the risk of breast, bowel and lung cancer.
  • It boosts general fitness, muscular strength and endurance.
  • It enhances flexibility and balance.
  • It tones your body, so you look better.
  • It reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.
  • It lowers your risk of respiratory disease.
  • And, above all, it may prolong your life — so there's no reason why we shouldn't all make an effort to get in shape.
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