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7 Benefits of Exercise

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun & Fit:
People tell me all the time that exercise is good for me for many reasons, but I can only think of one — weight loss. What are the other reasons?
Hates to exercise
Hygiene, Colorado

Is that skunk\’s name Jean?

Great question. And I’d ask about your city, but I lived near there and know it exists! But it is a “unique” name for a town. And I sure am tempted to say, “Hi Jean!”

There actually are quite a few great reasons to exercise, yet we’ll just give you the 7 that Mayo Clinic touts, starting with the one you already know:
1. Helps manage weight – Forget all that crazy talk pre-printed on the machines about fat-burning zones: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. In a simple sentence that includes a verb, engaging in exercise causes you to burn calories. If you burn them, you aren’t storing them!

2. Improves mood – decreases stress, helps stave off depression, increases self-esteem and happiness, and is relaxing; all to do with brain chemicals.

Chocolate improves mood

3. Combats chronic diseases – We in the fitness industry have been shouting about this for years. But is anyone listening? Noooooo. Too bad, I’m going to shout it again: most chronic diseases can be prevented or managed with exercise – hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, abnormal cholesterol levels, stroke, arthritis. While we’re at it, you should also quit smoking!

4. Boosts energy level – When people say “I’m doing my cardio,” they are secretly talking about Biology 101. The cardiovascular system is more efficient when it’s all “exercised up.” Go Heart! Go Blood Vessels! While we’re here: Go Lungs!

5. Promotes better sleep – As long as I don’t exercise right before bedtime, I can improve..zzzzzzzzz. snort

6. Has positive effect on sex life – Women: Hello arousal! Men: Goodbye erectile dysfunction. Nuff said. Shut up and dance.

Shut Up and Dance

7. Can be fun – Okay, most of the people who live on this planet might wonder about the fun part, but obviously the researchers at the Mayo Clinic are whooping it up!

In the end, all you need is the one benefit that will get you motivated to exercise. Any list, no matter how long or short, will be irrelevant unless it resonates with you. And no, “resonate” is not a type of furniture polish!

Dear Readers: If you had to choose one of the benefits from the list above, which one would be the one that gets you motivated to move?

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