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The benefits of exercise are what our grandparents enjoyed on a regular basis. Their lives were physically active because they did not have many of the labor-saving devices we take for granted now. The following list will show these benefits. They have been confirmed through many studies.
4) Lack of physical activity destroys health and leads to premature aging. This results in fragile muscles and bones, high risk of obesity, and depression.
5) Aerobic exercise preserves the heart, lungs, and brain. Weight lifting improves bone density and increases muscle strength, balance, and overall fitness.
6) Another one of the benefits of exercise is the lowering of the risk of people who have prediabetes from developing into diabetes by a whopping percentage (Diabetes Prevention Program study.) People over the age of 60 in the study lowered their risk of developing diabetes by 71%! This was done through diet and exercise (walking 30 minutes a day for 5 days.)
7) Sedentary people a) lose muscle mass b) their basal metabolic rate slows down c) lose aerobic capacity d) their blood pressure rises e) lose some blood sugar tolerance f) cholesterol levels get worse g) bone density decreases and h) ability to stabilize internal body temperature is impaired.
8) A high muscle-to-fat ratio increases your ability to burn calories. This makes it easier to stay lean. Weight training boosts the basal metabolic rate by 15%.
9) Sedentary people gain fat even if they don't gain weight. Why? They lose muscle mass and accumulate fat. The benefits of exercise can prevent that from happening. The average 25 year old woman has 25% body fat. If she's sedentary, at 65 years old her body fat will increase to 45%! The average 25 year old man has about 18% body fat. If he's sedentary, by 65 he will have almost 40% body fat!
10) One of the benefits of exercise promotes longevity for cancer victims. Regular exercise reduces the death rate among women who already have breast cancer.
11) By age 45, a person begins losing 1% lean body mass (muscle) per year. At age 65, this amounts to a 20% loss of muscle! A weight lifting program will prevent this loss. One pound of muscle can use anywhere from 35 to 50 calories per day; a pound of fat on the other hand will burn only about 3 calories per day!
12) A study (20-week study at Wake Forest University School of Medecine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) has shown that exercise reduces abdominal fat-cell size by 18%. The larger the size of the fat cell, the greater the amount of abdominal fat that is carried. Weight can be lost by reducing caloric intake, but the size of fat cells remain the same.
13) It was once thought that excess weight (fat) helps to build strong bones because of the stress that it places on it. A new study has challenged that belief, and all but disproved it. Dr. Vincente Gilsanz and associates at Childrens' Hospital in Los Angeles conducted a study on 300 young people between the ages of 13 and 21. The object was to prove or disprove this accepted view. The researchers found strong links between lean body mass (muscle) and bone size and density. They concluded that bone strength is based on dynamic loads from muscle force as opposed to static loads from fat mass. This is another incentive for weight training. (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. January, 2007.)
14) The risk of developing age-related macular degeneration can be reduced by 70 percent through a program of regular exercise.
15) In the March 26, 2007 issue of Newsweek, an article in its Health for Life study revealed the following statistics: (a) a person who doesn't exercise raises his risk of developing colon cancer by 40 percent (b) the non-exerciser has a 45 percent greater chance of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) (c) the non-exerciser has a 60 percent greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
16) Another of the many benefits of exercise develops the brain. Science has determined that consistent exercise builds up the levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor.) BDNF is critical for learning (makes you smarter), memory and other processes of higher thought.
17) Exercise improves muscle coordination, reaction time and strength.
18) The risk of death for unfit men and women is greater than for those who are fit. This is regardless of their bodyfat levels.
(19) Strength training (lifting weights) is essential to preserve muscle while dieting. Each pound lost on a weight loss program is 70% fat and 30% muscle.
In an 8-week study, a group of men and women who only did cardio dropped 4 pounds with no muscle gain. Another group who performed half the amount of cardio and an equal amount of strength training lost 10 pounds of fat and gained 2 pounds of muscle.
(20) exercise has been found to lower estrogen levels; high estrogen levels is linked to breast cancer.