Enjoy these benefits of exercise that go beyond fitness – St George News


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FEATURE – In many parts of the country, May is when the weather warms up after a cold winter. That means it’s time to get up and move more!

Whether it’s more walks outside, push-ups during TV commercials, more stairs in your home, or getting up and walking regularly at work, the benefits of physical movement are endless. .

And while we all know we should exercise more because it’s good for us, sometimes we just need a push and a goal to get us started.

This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym or buy fancy workout clothes, you just need to move your body more – and if you haven’t started yet, May is the perfect time!

Here are five reasons to increase physical activity and move more in May.

Moving your body improves mental health

Move more in May and enjoy the benefits of physical exercise, place and date not specified | Photo courtesy of USU Extension, St. George News

Studies continue to show that when our body feels good, our brain feels better. Results from 40 clinical trials involving nearly 3,000 patients with various medical conditions showed that those who exercised regularly reported a 20% reduction in anxiety compared to those who did not exercise. .

Others have found that even small doses of physical activity, such as brisk walking, can significantly reduce the risk of depression. Studies show that the greatest benefits are realized when going from no activity to at least one activity, but the truth is that every little bit counts.

Exercise is great for your physical health

It’s no surprise that more and more doctors are prescribing exercises to help patients improve their physical health. Exercise strengthens your heart and improves circulation. The increased blood flow increases oxygen levels, which reduces your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and lowers blood sugar levels.

Of course, it also helps you control your weight, build strong bones and muscles, reduce the risk of falls in the elderly, and even reduce the risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer, uterus and lung. It’s time to move!

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Exercise curbs your craving for junk food

Research suggests that physical activity can help promote better eating. Just 20 minutes of brisk walking has been shown to help control high calorie junk food and soda cravings and even motivate healthier food choices. Exercise may actually increase prefrontal brain function, which improves our ability to resist the temptation of sweet or salty ultra-processed foods.

Move more, sleep better

Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Try to move more! Although researchers may not fully understand how physical activity improves sleep, decades of studies show that moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of deep sleep we get, which is when brain and body rejuvenate. And the best part?

It doesn’t take months or years to see the benefits – exercise today and sleep better tonight. Scientists suggest watching what time you exercise because aerobic exercise raises core body temperature and releases endorphins, which can make it hard to relax if you exercise in the evening.

Practice for better relationships

Physical activity causes a release of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that block pain. As a result, people feel happier after exercising, even after just a 20-minute walk. It can also decrease stress and worry, which can reduce the chances of negative interactions and lead to increased empathy, positivity, and compassion.

Exercise also helps eliminate toxins in our body, which affects how we feel and how we feel impacts our relationships. Additionally, studies suggest that exercise increases testosterone and that physically active women have increased sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction. In sum, exercise can increase our emotional connection with others.

It is therefore time to commit to moving more in May. Start by setting yourself a specific and realistic goal. Write it down, get involved, share it, and celebrate your small wins. You can even reach out and move more with a partner or friend, and you’ll both reap the benefits!

Written by Utah State University Family Life Extension Specialist DAVID SCHRAMM.

Copyright St.George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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