Beyond the obvious reasons for remaining physically active, there’s even more to consider if you are serious about increasing your odds toward longevity. Aerobic exercise can influence whether the genes for heart disease, diabetes, or other illnesses are activated. If one of your parents has had a heart attack, you have a 30% chance of also having one – research tells us a consistent exercise regimen may combat some of those odds.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has specific guidelines that outline the benefits of physical activity, which includes controlling your weight, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome (indicated by thickening around the waist), high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high blood sugar. Research shows that lower rates of these conditions are seen with a minimum of between 2 to 2-1/2 hours per week of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity. And the more physical activity you do, the lower your risk will be.
Being physically active also lowers your risk for both colon and breast cancer. Some findings suggest that your risk of endometrial cancer and lung cancer may be also be lowered if you get regular physical activity compared to people who are not active.
Aerobics, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity of at least a moderately-intensity level can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age. Osteoporosis and bone fractures are serious health conditions that can have life-changing negative effects, but your chances can be minimized by committing to at least 120 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Include balance and muscle-strengthening activities each week along with moderate-intensity aerobic activity to help reduce your risk of falling.
Regular workouts also help with arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints. With across- the-board, positive results, including reduced blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and increased joint flexibility – which is beneficial for alleviating the chronic pains of arthritis, it’s not a big leap to nickname fitness the fountain of youth. Your brain power can also improve through aerobic exercise – specifically cognitive function such as task completion, selective attention, and memory. Physical activity can also reduce your risk of depression and may enhance regular sleep cycles. Include balance and muscle-strengthening activities each week along with moderate-intensity aerobic activity to help reduce your risk of falling.
The bottom line is that exercise and most physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from major causes of death like heart disease and some cancers
If you’re new to exercise or need to adapt a new exercise plan that corresponds with your individual fitness level, it’s important that you choose the right workout that provides the correct balance of stretching, toning, resistance and cardio activities. Check with local community centers and fitness gyms to see what types of classes they offer to complement your fitness level. Start with small steps and don’t try to jump start an engine that may be out of tune. And it can’t be overstated that you should always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.