By Susie Michelle Cortright, founder of momscape.com
Special to NurseZone
Exercise is good for your mind, body and soul. Refer to this quick list of exercise's benefits the next time you need a little extra motivation.
This article is excerpted from More Energy for Moms, an interactive mind-body-spirit fitness program, designed exclusively for moms. Its creator, Susie Michelle Cortright, is the author of several books for moms and founder of the award-winning Web site http://www.momscape.com.
- Improves the quality of your sleep.
- Burns fat.
- Boosts your metabolism.
- Charges your immune system for one to three hours after each workout.
- Increases your circulation.
- Eliminates toxins through the sweat glands and lymph system.
- Regulates blood sugar levels.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Lowers cholesterol.
- Lowers your risk of stroke. Even low-intensity workouts, such as walking and biking, can lower this risk by 23 percent, the American Heart Association reports. A job entailing physical activity can lower it by 49 percent.
- Increases muscle mass.
- Strengthens your heart and lungs.
- Reduces your risk of various kinds of cancer, including breast cancer.
- Slashes your risk of developing coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Burning 2,000 calories per week in your workout and daily activities reduces your risk of heart disease by 40 percent.
- Helps you control anxiety.
- Provides an appropriate outlet for aggression and tension.
Helps you lose weight. Exercise is critical to any weight loss strategy and it may be an even more significant factor than diet. A study in Great Britain involved researchers tracking 1,000 female twins. Researchers considered all factors that might influence the
women's weight, including smoking, hormone therapy, diet and physical exercise. Physical activity had the most profound effect on weight. Even the women whose physical activity consisted of relatively low intensity exercises, such as golf and bowling, had less body fat—particularly dangerous abdominal fat.
- Helps keep your body looking great. Your clothes fit better and your posture improves.
- Improves your self-esteem.
- Improves your sex life. One study reports that physically active women are more likely to describe themselves as assertive, sexy and physically strong. A majority of them also said exercise helped to boost their career, relationships, self-esteem.
- Enhances your mood and relaxes your body by increasing blood flow to the brain and triggering the release of endorphins.
- Increases creativity and alertness.
- Reduces stress.
- Energizes you like nothing else. The energy boost from cardiovascular exercise is instantaneous and lasts for hours.