Twenty Reasons Why You Should Get 30 Minutes of Exercise Every Day.

You already know that a daily dose of exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health.  What you may not know is that 30 minutes a day of cardio and strength exercises effects every single cell in your body.  Exercise is the secret sauce to a longer, more productive existence.  And the best news is you don’t have to do P90X or Insanity-type workouts to get the benefits (although those are certainly solid programs).  Moderate, but regular, doses of exercise does a body good too!

Here are twenty reasons why you should get (at least) 30 minutes of exercise a day:

1.  Heart Disease – Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

2.  Increased Brain Power – Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning according to Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey and author of the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. Exercise increases mental clarity and may help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimers.

Exercise is the secret ingredient to a long and healthy life.

Exercise is the secret ingredient to a long and healthy life.

3.  Depression – A study published in 2005 found that walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms. When you exercise you secrete chemicals called endorphins which are the body’s own natural anti-depressants.

4.  Diabetes – Studies show that exercise has the potential to control diabetes by nonmedical means, reduce the severity of the disease, and significantly reduce the risk of long-term complications

5.  Osteoporosis Prevention – When you exercise, you don’t just build muscle and endurance, you also build and maintain the amount and thickness of your bones.  Studies have shown that resistance exercise increases bone density and decreases the risk of fractures.

6.  Longevity – Science shows that physical activity can reduce the risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers.  People who are physically active for about seven hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.

7.  Fountain Of Youth – Not only will you live longer, you’ll look and feel younger. Physical inactivity is one of the strongest predictors of unsuccessful aging for older adults and is perhaps the root cause of many unnecessary and premature admissions to long-term care according to a study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine.

8.  Improved Self Esteem– A regular 30 minute workout can make you feel better about your appearance and improve your self-esteem. Who doesn’t love to brag about what weight they can bench press, or how hard they are training for a mini-tri?  Plus, maintaining a regular exercise routine helps you feel more in control of your life and your health.

9.  Lowers Anxiety – Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It has been shown that exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety by up to 50% and is being studied as an option to help people that suffer from general anxiety disorder.

10.  Lowers Stress – Higher physical fitness is associated with lower levels of stress. Research indicates that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, performed three times a week for at least 20 minutes for up to 12 weeks has the most influence on stress management.

11. Stroke – Statistics show that those who are moderately active have a 20% lower risk of stroke while those who are highly active have a 27% lower risk of stroke.

12. Look better – When we feel better we look better.  Exercise gives us better muscle tone, brighter skin, and a better outlook on life which all contribute to looking great!

13. Weight Management – Studies have shown that reducing calories is the key to weight loss, but exercise is the key to keeping the weight off.  Thirty minutes of cardio/strength activities can prevent yo-yo dieting and make it easier for you to manage your weight long term.

14. Lowers Triglycerides – Patrick McBride, MD, MPH, director of the preventive cardiology program and the cholesterol clinic at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health says that consistent regular exercise can lower blood triglycerides (fats) by 30% to 40% and boost HDL (good) cholesterol by 5 to 8 mg/dL.

15. Increased Energy – New research suggests that regular exercise can increase energy levels even among people suffering from chronic medical conditions associated with chronic disease.  In fact, 90% of the studies shows that sedentary people who completed a regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to those that did not exercise.

16. Better Immune System – When you exercise on a regular basis all of the systems in the body are stronger and higher functioning and are better equipped to fight off bacteria that can cause you to become sick.  By exercising 30 minutes a day at least five times a week you can reduce the number of colds you get each year.

17. Springboard to Better Eating Habits – Taking the time out of your day to exercise on a regular basis is a big commitment and is the first step to developing other healthy behaviors. When you get up early, spend your lunch-hour, or precious after-work time exercising, you’ll be less likely to blow your efforts with poor food choices that undermine your hard work.

18.  Lets You Be A Role Model – A person that has made daily exercise part of their life is a great role model and mentor for those that are trying to be physically active.  Invite a friend or co-worker that’s struggling to fit exercise into their day to take a walking break with your, or join you on a Saturday morning hike.  Use your own healthy habits to motivate someone else.

19.  Higher Metabolism – Exercise increases your metabolism in a couple of ways.  For starters, after you work out your body burns additional calories for several hours.  (The amount of extra calories you burn is based on the length and intensity of the workout.)  Also, through exercise you build lean muscle mass.  The more lean muscle mass a person has, the more calories they burn even when resting or sleeping.

20.  Puts You In The 20% – Here’s a time when being in the minority is a good place to be.  Nearly 80% of people that live in the United States don’t exercise on a regular basis.  When you become a member of the 20% club there are plenty of perks:  better health, longer life, less chance for both the common cold and chronic disease, more energy, and a more positive outlook on life.

What Have I Missed?

This is list of 20 ways exercise can improve your life.  I’m sure there are twenty or thirty more.  What have I missed?

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Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Center for Disease Control,