5 Reasons to Exercise

Exercise is as essential to health as eating right and getting enough sleep.

Exercise is as essential to health as eating right and getting enough sleep. Yet too often, it ends up finishing last on our daily to-do list. Understanding the many ways exercise benefits us physically, mentally and emotionally can help motivate us to get moving. Here are five compelling reasons to make exercise a regular part of our lives, according to Kyndall Truett, a certified personal trainer and cancer exercise trainer with the National Training Center at Orlando Health South Lake Hospital.

  • Builds muscular strength. Having strong muscles allows our body to perform the activities of daily living with ease. Exercise also strengthens the heart muscle to pump blood more efficiently, which improves blood pressure and lowers the risk of heart disease.

  • Reduces body fat. Exercise increases lean muscle mass, which raises metabolism to burn more calories. Truett doesn’t rely on scales to measure her clients’ fitness progress. “The better goal is to have a healthy waist circumference,” she explains. That means less fat around the organs and less risk of inflammation — two factors in developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

  • Improves posture and mobility. When a person is sedentary, the abdominal muscles begin to weaken, resulting in more stress on the thoracic spine and negative postural changes.

  • Improves immune-system function. Exercise helps our body flush out toxins and waste through a network of tissues and organs known as the lymphatic system.

Contributes to psychological health. Exercise leads to the brain releasing endorphins that give us a feeling of euphoria. “Our self-confidence gets a boost, and we often have better sleeping patterns, too,” says Truett.