Regardless of your age, physical activity is important to your health. Exercise benefits kick in the moment you begin moving — and the benefits continue as long as you do. Experts recommend doing cardio exercise at least three times a week and resistance or weight training two times each week.
You can feel the benefits of exercise right away as you breathe faster and deeper, delivering extra oxygen to your muscles. Endorphins trigger a higher level of alertness. Within one hour, proteins bolster your immune system while you keep burning calories. Over time, you’ll reduce your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and several cancers, plus you’ll increase your potential to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
What’s more, regular exercise slows the aging process.
Exercise and periodic “brain breaks” give adults physical and mental benefits that are similar to what they gained from recess as kids. “Brain breaks” can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise fights obesity, which is common, serious and costly:
- More than one-third of U.S. adults are categorized as obese according to their Body Mass Index, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
- Medical costs for people who are obese tend to be higher than those of normal weight.
Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.