Boost your health with exercise

Boost your health with exercise

When it comes to our health, exercise is a powerful tool. It helps us stay young in body and spirit; it has the power to prevent and even treat some diseases; it can be as effective as medication in managing depression and anxiety; and it offers innumerable other benefits too – even a better sex life!

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity every week. Sadly, only 15% of adults actually achieve this minimum. Often people think they’re too busy to exercise, can’t find the motivation, get discouraged because it takes time to see and feel the benefits, or opt out because 150 minutes seems like too much of a stretch.

Happily, we know that there are health benefits to every workout – even ones as short as 10 minutes. Every time you exercise, small miracles are at work inside your body – so keep that in mind next time you find yourself running for the bus, or contemplating whether to use the elevator or take the stairs.

Here are some of the incredible (and proven!) benefits to making exercise part of your day, every day.

  1. Exercise for more energy: Falling asleep at your desk? Yawning your way through a lunch meeting? Too tired to play with the kids after dinner? Get up and get moving for more energy!
  2. Improved sleep quality: When was the last time you had a really good night’s sleep? That long?! Did you know those who exercise regularly (though not too close to bedtime) report better sleep quality? Commit to an after-dinner walk or bike ride – the fun, stress-relief, connection with nature, and exercise will do you the world of good.
  3. Better sex, more often: Too tired to have sex? Regular exercise can lead to a better body image and leave you with more energy for physical intimacy. Try it and see for yourself!
  4. Exercise make your skin glow: Exercise contributes to soft, glowing skin… but don’t even think about exercising outdoors without sunscreen. In fact, have a look at this terrific article from Dr. Freiman at Toronto Dermatology Centre with tips on protecting your skin when outdoors.
  5. Exercise fights disease: More good news! Regular exercise can help prevent or manage heart disease and stroke, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, osteoporosis, and even some types of cancer. Strive for at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity every week and remember that unlike chocolate cake, when it comes to exercise, more is better!
  6. Get moving to feel happier: Exercise stimulates brain chemicals that help us to feel happier and more relaxed. Some research suggests regular physical activity is as effective as medication in treating mild-to-moderate depression. Fill your prescription for a daily dose of active fun.
  7. Exercise to maintain your weight: Exercise alone, rarely leads to weight loss, at least of significance. It can however, help one to maintain a healthy weight. You may be surprised to know that those who are overweight but active, are often much healthier than those who are slim but inactive. Whatever your size, exercise is essential for optimal health.

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A marketing communications professional with over 25 years of experience; a former personal trainer; and a fitness instructor of over two decades, Catherine has inspired thousands of Canadians to lead active, healthy lives. Catherine lives in Toronto and has two daughters, ages 19 and 16. Visit Catherine's website and follow her on Twitter