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Don’t wait to decide to feel great

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 1:15 a.m. CST

You’re probably sick and tired of listening to all of the reasons you should be more active, even though there is a lot of evidence to show that more active people are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  

If you are a younger person with no known health issues, it might be hard for you to imagine that you could develop a serious health condition. And, if you are an older person who already has health problems, you might think it is too late to improve your health. 

The good news is that regular physical activity has many immediate benefits that can improve the quality of your life right now, no matter your age or current physical condition. 

Improve

your mood

Although studies have found that exercise enhances mood for up to an hour afterward, a recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting suggests the benefits may last much longer than previously thought.

The study found benefits for up to 12 hours following activity, compared to a resting group. Because the mood-enhancing effects of exercise fade about 12 hours after exercise, it’s important to make physical activity a daily habit.

Relieve and

manage stress

According to a study by kinesiology researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress for an extended period of time post-workout.

As explained by J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, “We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but you’ll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events.”

Protect yourself against cold, flu

According to Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, exercise elevates your level of immunoglobulins, which are proteins that help bolster your immune system and ward off infection.

“Every sweat session you do can help strengthen your immune function for about 24 hours,” Dr. Bryant says.

Good to go

That’s right, regular physical activity can make you more, well, regular. According to experts, exercise does more than tone your heart and other muscles. Exercise is essential for regular bowel movements. In fact, one of the key risk factors for constipation is inactivity.

And if that doesn’t get you moving, I don’t know what else will.  

 

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