INTERESTING FACTS ON HEALTH

1. Exercise Boosts Brainpower                                                                                             

Not only does exercise improve your body, it helps your mental function, says certified trainer David Atkinson.

“Exercise increases energy levels and increases serotonin in the brain, which leads to improved mental clarity,” says Atkinson, director of program development for Cooper Ventures, a division of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas.

All that makes for a more productive day.

“It is clear that those who are active and who exercise are much more productive at work,” says Todd A. Astorino, assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University-San Marcos.

Improved productivity not only makes you a better worker, it makes things better for everyone in the workplace. Companies with less wasted work hours and less sick time end up with lower health care costs — and an improved bottom line, Astorino says.

2. Movement Melts Away Stress                                                                                          

As much as it may stress you out just to think about exercising, once you actually start working out, you’ll experience less stress in every part of your life.

“Exercise produces a relaxation response that serves as a positive distraction,” says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. He says it also helps elevate your mood and keep depression at bay.

You’re not the only person who will benefit from more happiness and less stress in your life. When you’re less stressed, you’re less irritable, Atkinson says — and that could improve relationships with your partner, kids, and co-workers.

3. Fitness Pumps Up Your Heart                                                                                    

Not only does exercise help fight disease, says Bryant, it creates a stronger heart — the most important muscle in the body. That helps makes exercise — and the activities of daily life — feel easier.

“Your heart and cardiovascular system will function more effectively,” says Bryant. “The heart will build up less plaque. It will become a more efficient pump.”

And “when the heart becomes stronger, it pumps more blood per beat, so at rest, the heart rate is lower,” says Astorino. “It’s not going to have to beat as fast” to expend the same amount of effort.

Within only a couple days after you start exercising, Astorino says, “the body readily adapts to the stimulus it’s getting and it becomes easier. You will feel less fatigue. It will not take as much effort when it comes to breathing. You shouldn’t have as much pain or soreness.”

4. Exercise Lets You Eat More                                                                                              

Pound for pound, muscle burns more calories at rest than body fat. So the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. And, of course, you also burn calories while you’re actually exercising.

All this means that “cheating” with a cookie once in a while isn’t going to take you back 10 steps. “Can you eat anything? No,” says Atkinson. “But you can afford to enjoy some of the things you really like when you exercise regularly. You can better get away with those things in moderation than you can when you’re not working out.”

5. Exercise Boosts Performance                                                                                    

After a few weeks of consistent exercise, you may feel your clothes fitting differently and see that your muscle tone has improved, Atkinson says.

You may also notice your newly pumped-up muscles in other ways, especially if you’re a recreational golfer or tennis player, or like a friendly game of pick-up basketball, says Atkinson. Exercising consistently will strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, and improve your overall performance.

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