Sweating and heavy breathing might not be your idea of a good time. Enjoying exercise doesn’t come naturally for many people so it’s important to focus on the positives that come from this sometimes arduous task. Here are five key benefits from cardiovascular exercise.
Reduces your stress level
Seven out of ten adults in the U.S. say they experience stress daily, and most say it can interfere with their lives. Exercise may be the most recommended coping techniques for stress by healthcare professionals. It produces endorphins and improves your ability to sleep, which both help to combat stress.
Decreases your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer
Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week can lower your risk for these diseases. Research shows that being physically active also lowers your risk for both colon and breast cancer.
Relieves depression and anxiety
Not only can exercise lower your stress levels overall, it can also provide almost immediate relief from feelings of depression and anxiety. Movement in the form of physical activity releases feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals and other natural brain chemicals that can boost your sense of well-being. Being active also distracts your mind from negative thoughts that contribute to depression and anxiety.
Improves your sleep
Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and give you better quality sleep. Brisk walking, light biking, using an elliptical machine, or anything that increases your heart rate can help improve your sleep. Some experts also recommend getting outdoors while you exercise because the bright light can help to regulate your body clock.
Gives you more energy
If you’re sitting on the couch thinking about how you should be working out, the first step is to stand up and start walking around. This movement will likely trigger some energy and can lead you to want to move even more. Studies have found that people who exercise regularly experience less fatigue throughout the day than those who do not.
The next time you want to skip your morning jog or trip to the gym, try to consider both the long and short term value that cardiovascular exercise provides. Your body and mind will thank you!