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4 Incredible Benefits of Exercise

4 Incredible Benefits of Exercise
By: Meenu Johnkutty

The summer months are finally upon us! Now, we can enjoy the bliss of no school, no homework, and endless fun for two months. While some of us may have scored an internship or a job, we all can agree that we have a lot more time than when we were in school. So, why not spend some of that time giving some TLC to our bodies? Here are 4 incredible benefits of exercise that will be bound to get you off the couch and on the running trails!

1. Exercise controls your weight.
To maintain a steady body weight, the CDC recommends getting up to 150 minutes of “moderate-intensity” aerobic activity each week. However, this number may vary across different body types. Aerobic activity is defined as physical activity that increases your heart rate and increases the amount of oxygen being pumped to the muscles. Examples of aerobic activity include running, walking, hiking, skiing, and dancing. So, you can get those 150 minutes by engaging in any or all of these activities. The 150 minutes each week may seem like a daunting number, but in reality it averages out to 20 minutes of exercise per day! (That’s less than half an episode of Grey’s Anatomy). In order to lose weight, however, the CDC advises engaging in consistent higher level of physical activity and following a diet plan. So, this means increasing the amount of exercise time per day. The key to “getting in the grove” of exercising consistently is to start off slow. So, try walking around your neighborhood one day, and then jogging the next. You’re bound to find your perfect mix of exercise in no time.

2. Exercise improves mental health and mood.
Exercise lowers the risk of many cardiovascular diseases, but it also can ward of the blues. Engaging in physical activity lowers the risk of depression and sharpens your thinking skills. It can also make you feel better about your appearance and increase your self-esteem and confidence. Talking from personal experience, I often found myself feeling much more focused on my school work after cross country practice. This allowed me to get my school work done in no time so I could catch that episode of Shark Tank on ABC.

3. Exercise promotes better sleep.
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, exercise may help you catch those Z’s. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise promotes deeper sleep and shortens the time it takes for you to fall asleep. More sleep equals more energy for the day!

4. Exercise can be fun!
Engaging in physical activity makes you feel energized and fit. But, it can also provide an opportunity for you to hang out with your friends and get fit. If you have a friend who also wants to get more active, grab him/her and schedule some runs or hikes together. This will make your exercise time less lonely and much more fun!

Exercise clearly has some benefits. So, dust off your running shoes today and get some mileage in. You’re bound to fall in love with keeping your body and mind more fit, active, and more
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