About 100 minutes of cardiovascular work per week is good. This can be as simple as fast walking, or choose activities that are fun for you, like dancing or zumba. 30 minutes of getting your heart rate to 60-80% of your maximum (220 minus your age), six out of seven days per week, can be an effective treatment for depression, as good as an antidepressant. If your motivation is low, find someone else to join you. Try weight lifting and stretching after exercise.

To help motivate you, here are 100 benefits of exercise:

1. Reduces blood pressure

2. Reduces cholesterol levels

3. Increases the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol in the blood)

4. Reduces chances for coronary heart disease

5. Increases the efficiency of your heart and lowers resting heart rate

6. Makes heart muscles stronger

7. Improves contractile function of the heart

8. Strengthens lungs

9. Improves respiratory function

10. Improves cardiovascular endurance and performance

11. Provides more oxygen to body, including organs and muscles

12. Provides more nutrient supply to the body

13. Reduces chances for stroke

14. Helps to prevent and alleviate varicose veins

15. Increases metabolic rate

16. Stimulates digestion

17. Makes digestion more efficient

18. Stimulates intestinal movements, resulting in better elimination of wastes

19. Reduces risk of colon cancer

20. Strengthens and develops muscles

21. Increases efficiency of muscles

22. Benefits joints due to stronger muscles

23. Helps maintain cartilage health in the joints

24. Eases muscular tension

25. Alleviates back problems

26. Increases muscle flexible and agility

27. Improves speed of muscle contraction and reaction time

28. More healthy skin due to the fact that skin pores open more during exercise, resulting in more efficient removal of dirt and impurities 29. Burns up and removes toxins from body

30. Increases blood flow to the brain

31. Stimulates growth of nerve cells in memory center of the brain

32. Improves various indices of psychological functioning

33. Enhances brain functioning by increasing the amount of oxygen available to it

34. Increases sense of well being

35. Increases resistance to pain because endorphin levels are elevated

36. Increases sense of excitement because epinephrine is elevated

37. Alleviates boredom

38. Lessens worry and tension

39. Reduces effects of stress by removing lactic acid from blood

40. Alleviates anxiety and/or pain because the tranquilizing effect of exercise lasts for several hours

41. Enhances mood

42. Reduces anxiety as effectively as drugs or medications

43. Reduces depression as effectively as medication

44. Improves self-esteem and self-confidence since body and mind are improved and strengthened

45. Increases sense of self control

46. Provides source of pleasure and fun

47. Releases anger and negative emotions

48. Boosts energy

49. Enhances coordination, power, timing and balance

50. Boosts immune system functioning

51. Reduces severity of asthma

52. Reduces risk of substance abuse

53. Can relieve tension headaches

54. Can reduce the urge to smoke

55. Burns calories 

56. Causes body to use calories more efficiently

57. Causes weight loss

58. Allows one to keep lost weight from returning

59. Can act as an appetite suppressant

60. Decreases fat tissue

61. Improves physical appearance

62. Enhances one's image and opinion of the body

63. Improves bone density and prevents osteoporosis

64. Reduces joint discomfort

65. Helps manage arthritis

66. Allows one to feel better about one's body and enjoy sex more

67. Provides enhanced ability to achieve orgasm

68. Allows for greater sexual satisfaction

69. Can reduce or eliminate impotence due to increased blood flow

70. Prevents or manages type 2 diabetes

71. Helps insulin work better, lowering blood sugar

72. Regulates the clotting factor fibrinogen

73. Alleviates menstrual cramps

74. Improves athletic performance

75. Can add years to one's life

76. Enhances quality of life

77. Reduces pain and disability

78. Improves glycogen storage

79. Reduces risk of developing certain types of cancers of the colon, prostate, uterine lining and breast and other chronic diseases

80. Regulates hormones

81. Allows you to overcome illness or injury more quickly

82. Can lessen medical bills

83. Reduces anxiety by causing fewer worries about health

84. Can allow for better performance at work

85. Allows one to stay independent as one gets older

86. Can keep health care insurance premiums lower

87. Makes one more attractive to potential mates

88. Allows for healthy pregnancy

89. Increases energy and ability to do the things one likes

90. Allows you to be more productive and less stymied by stress and depression

91. Can help increase income due to increased energy

92. Allows one to become more familiar with their body and its functioning

93. Improves sleep 

94. Lets one eat more without gaining weight

95. Provides a healthy break from work

96. Adds variety and spice to life

97. Gives one increased ability to defend oneself and loved ones if needed

98. Provides a natural high afterwards, such as runners' high

99. Provides heightened alertness

100. Reduces inflammation


* Check out the book Spark by Dr Ratey of Harvard.

Exercise Physiology


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