Anita got her lipid panel results back at the doctor's office today. The doctor started off the conversation with, "I can tell you have been exercising." Anita asked, "How can you tell that from my blood work?" Anita's good cholesterol (HDL) had jumped 20 points up. Great news as we have learned good cholesterol helps get the bad cholesterol out of our bodies.
Although researchers are still trying to determine exactly how exercise affects your cholesterol, the bottom line is clear: moderate exercise has favorable effects on all aspects of your cholesterol profile. Current studies suggest that moderate exercise can reduce LDL cholesterol 5 to 10%, whereas HDL cholesterol can be raised by between 3 and 6%. Although this may not seem like much, combining exercise with other lifestyle changes can help keep your cholesterol levels -- as well as the rest of your body -- healthy.
Exercise also helps you feel happier. When you work out, your body makes endorphins -- "feel-good" chemicals in the brain. You can actually start to feel better within a few minutes of moving. But the effects of regular exercise can last for a long time. We can feel too tired to exercise. Yet, after we are done, you realize that fatigue goes away and you find yourself with a lot more pep.
One big plus of regular exercise is sound sleep. When you exercise regularly you fall asleep faster. The harder you exercise, the more likely you are to have a good night's sleep. It doesn't matter when you exercise, as long as you don’t have trouble sleeping. If you do have problems, though, work out earlier in the day.
Stress can really decrease when you exercise. When your body works hard, the levels of stress hormones -- like adrenaline and cortisol -- drop. Stress and anxiety fade away, especially after aerobic exercise.
And with exercise comes weight control. When you exercise you are more likely to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Your diet should naturally become healthier when you exercise. Whether you want to lose some inches around the waist or just avoid putting on extra pounds, exercise is the key. Try to work out 30 minutes most days of the week
Who doesn't want to live a long life? Regular exercise can add years to your life. And that counts even if you're not a hard-core fitness buff. Just get moving. Even a little exercise can help you live longer than not exercising at all. The American Heart Association says each hour of exercise adds 2 hours to your life.
Your bones and muscles get stronger when you work out. It's especially important to do weight-bearing exercise, such as weight-lifting, tennis, walking, and dancing. This can help build bones as you get older. And it can help ward off osteoporosis and protect your balance and coordination.
Heart Disease is our number one killer, and by getting regular exercise you are doing something great for your heart. Regular exercise can lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood cholesterol levels, and help control and even prevent high blood pressure.