Wellness Wednesday: You Gotta Move!

Exercise can be an essential tool for managing everything from stress and depression to healing injuries and weight and preventing disease. Fitness trainers consistently recommend 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times per week for maximum results. Want to feel better, have more energy, and perhaps even live longer? Start exercising today. In 3 John 2, the Bible emphasizes the importance of health: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” Please look at several critical benefits gained through exercise; however, they are only the tip of the iceberg.

Exercise Improves Your Mood

Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help you calm down. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than before working out. You will also look and feel better when you exercise regularly, boosting your confidence and improving your self-esteem. Regular physical activity has been known to help prevent depression.

Exercise Combats Chronic Diseases

Are you worried about heart disease? Are you hoping to prevent osteoporosis? Physical activity may be the thing for you. Regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering plaque buildup in your arteries. And there’s more. Regular physical activity can help prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.

Exercise Helps You Manage Your Weight

Want to drop those excess pounds? Trade some couch time for walking or other physical activities. This one is a no-brainer. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn—and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. You don’t even need to set aside significant chunks of time for working out. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during your lunch break. Do jumping jacks during commercials. Better yet, turn off the television and take a brisk walk. Dedicated workouts are great, but physical activity you accumulate throughout the day helps you burn calories. You should also maintain a healthy diet and exercise to manage your weight.

Exercise Improves Your Metabolism

Working out regularly leads to more muscle mass. It leads to a higher metabolism. Studies have shown that every additional pound of muscle allows you to burn around 50-100 calories when not working out.

Exercise Boosts Your Energy Level

Are you tired after grocery shopping or household chores? Don’t throw in the towel. Regular physical activity can leave you breathing easier. Physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Regular physical activity helps your entire cardiovascular system work more efficiently—the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you will have more energy to do the things you enjoy.

Exercise Promotes Better Sleep

Are you struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep? It may help to boost your physical activity during the day. A goodnight’s sleep can improve your concentration, productivity, and mood. You guessed it—physical activity is sometimes the key to better sleep. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you may be too energized to fall asleep. If you are having trouble sleeping, you may want to exercise earlier in the day.

Exercise Improves Your Overall Health

Regular exercise leads to the strengthening of the immune system. Therefore one is less likely to get sick when exercising correctly. Alter-natively, overexercising can weaken your immune system and leave you ailing.

According to one author, “health is a treasure. Of all temporal possessions, it is the most precious. Wealth, learning, and honor are dearly purchased at the loss of the vigor of health. None of these can secure happiness if health is lacking. It is a terrible sin to abuse the health that God has given us; such abuses enfeeble us for life, and make us losers, even if we gain by such means any amount of education” (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 20).

Are you convinced that exercise is key to your health? Then don’t let another day go by without you taking advantage of regular physical activity.

More from Howard M. Shaw, Ph.D

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