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Exercise, Mood, Sleep

Do it in the AM! Maybe your brain won’t figure it out.

Do it in the AM!  Maybe your brain won’t figure it out.

 Exercise: Some of the Less-Known Benefits  

Exercise: Some of the Less-Known Benefits  

Everyone knows that exercise helps you to lose weight, reduces the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and builds bone strength. If that is not enough to get you moving, here are some other benefits that are not as frequently mentioned.

Improved mood
Exercise produces endorphins, which increase happiness. People with depression have lower circulating levels of endorphins. Exercise also increases levels of serotonin in the brain, which can lead to a person feeling calmer and handling stress better. In addition, the increase in self-confidence that occurs when a person begins to lose weight, tone their muscles, or get healthier can improve mood.

Better cognition
Exercise helps the brain get more oxygen and nutrients. So if you are having trouble concentrating or working out a complex problem, a quick jog around the block might do you a world of good. Studies have shown that people who exercise are more productive at work. The risk of Alzheimer’s disease and senility are reduced in people who exercise regularly.

Fewer sick days
Exercise bolsters your immune system and helps the body to fight off simple bacterial and viral infections. Several theories explain why this works, including by:

  • Flushing bacteria out of the lungs
  • Sending antibodies and white blood cells through the body quicker
  • Increasing body temperature enough to discourage bacterial growth
  • Slowing down the release of stress-related hormones

Keep in mind that this is true for moderate exercise. Excessive heavy exercise, however, can backfire, actually decreasing a person’s immunity.

Sleep regulation
People who exercise regularly have more energy during the day, fall asleep faster, and sleep more deeply at night. The endorphins created by exercise help you to power through the day, and the increased stamina and strength will help everyday tasks seem easier to accomplish.

Risk of falling in older adults 
One study published in the British Medical Journal found that regular exercise helped to reduce the risk of falling in older adults by about 7%, a significantly better improvement than was garnered by either vision correction or home modification.

Social relationships 
Exercising with a friend or loved one can improve your relationship. In addition, the increase in confidence and energy that you get by exercising can make it easier to meet new people and spend more time on your existing relationships.

References and recommended readings

Mayo Clinic. Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical exercise. Available at:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676. Accessed January 8, 2010.

MedlinePlus. Exercise and immunity. Available at:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm. Accessed January 8, 2010.

Sarnataro BT. Top 10 fitness facts: some things you should know about exercise. Available at:
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/exercise-benefits. Accessed January 8, 2010.

University of Maryland Medical Center. Exercise reduces falls among the elderly. Available at:http://www.umm.edu/careguides/000314.htm. Accessed January 8, 2010.

WebMD. The incredible benefits of regular exercise. Available at:
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/benefits-of-exercise. Accessed January 8, 2010.

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About Elaine Sirt -Hastings, RD. Nutrition, Energy & Human Performance Expert

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Elaine Sirt-Hastings, RD, LD/N, CSSD is the Founder of Associates in Nutrition and Sports Specialty and President of. Elaine Hastings and Associates, experts in Nutrition, Energy and Human Performance, a leader in the health, wellness, fitness and sports nutrition industries. Elaine is an engaging and informed Supplement, Performance and Energy Expert. Elaine is a go-to media source both nationally and internationally, with extensive knowledge in every aspect of nutrition. She has been a multimedia content contribute and media resource for some 20 years. Elaine specializes in human performance, wellness, energy, nutrition, fitness, eating disorders, sports and team nutrition. She is a highly sought after educator, author and spokesperson with excellent cross-cultural awareness. Being a former athlete and model Elaine knows how to help you Stay in Your Game! Stay in Your Game™ Eat and move for Top Performance in YOUR Life! …work. fitness. corporate. teams. athletes. kids.

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