We have a tendency to judge if exercise and diet are working by what the bathroom scale shows us each time that we step onto it. But that should not be the case. With each bout of exercise, we are improving many aspects of our health and physiology that are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of the benefits that you receive as a result of consistent exercise:
- Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15% – so if you’re looking to rev up that slow metabolism and become more functional as you age – you need to be strength training at least two to three times each week.
- Prevents Sarcopenia – which is the loss of muscle mass as you age – you can lose up to 10% or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
- Plays a role in disease prevention – like type 2 dabetes for example.
- Improves the way your body moves resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40%).
- Spares the loss of muscle during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
- Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1% of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause) – see Stong Women, Stong Bones
- Aerobic exercise will improve your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD
- Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping etc will “load” your bones in your lower extremity and make them stronger.
- Makes your heart stronger, lowers your resting heart rate and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
- The American College of Sports Medicine states that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness are associated with approximately a 50% reduction in disease risk.
Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.