Following an exercise regimen for a few months can give you quick results, but you’ll get even better results from long term exercise. The benefits range from better physical health and appearance to a healthier mental state.
Protection from Disease
As you get older, you get more susceptible to various diseases. Women are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis as they age, and regular weight-bearing exercise helps stave off osteoporosis. The younger you start regular exercise, the more you’re protected! Regular long term exercise also offers protection against type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease.
Maintaining a weight that’s healthy for your body shape and size is a big part of being healthy. By keeping a consistent exercise routine that features both aerobic components and strength training components, you have a much better chance of keeping an optimal weight. Not carrying excess weight has its own lifelong benefits. You’ll avoid straining your legs and knees, helping them last longer and age slower. Additionally, you’ll lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and raise your good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol.
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are chemicals that improve your mood and self-image, regulate your appetite, and decrease the amount of pain you feel. Regular exercise triggers the regular release of endorphins, leading to overall better moods. The regulation of appetite is a bonus—it helps you avoid overeating and lose weight faster. Furthermore, regular exercise can cause weight loss and muscle growth. These changes can improve your self-esteem, causing you to feel happier.
Exercise is also a great way of managing stress and other negative emotions. Research demonstrates that exercise is a reliable method of decreasing depression, anxiety, and anger. Taking time off from a difficult project or job to go for a run can help! When you return from your exercise, you might find that a new solution has presented itself or worked itself out in your mind during exercise. These benefits lead to healthy lifelong habits.
Besides just improving your physical health, exercise can improve your mental strength and acuity. Research shows that those who participate in regular exercise from a young age have a decreased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease—in fact, it’s possible to cut your risk by as much as 40%. You can get this benefit even if you haven’t exercised in a long time. No matter what age you start at, maintaining a regular exercise routine helps minimize the risk of dementia.
Regular aerobic exercise can also improve your memory. One study, performed in 2007, tested participants before the study started and then again after three months of regular aerobic exercise. Participants performed better on memory tests due to the improved blood flow to the brain.
Long term exercise has huge benefits for you, both physically and mentally. Pick an exercise you love doing and work it into your daily routine—you’ll soon begin enjoying better health, happier moods, and an improved memory.