We all know that we should move more. We hear it on the news, in the paper, at our schools, and yet, do we really understand the reason WHY it is important to be physically active? Our bodies were meant to be in motion, not to be sedentary for 10 hours a day. Many times those aches and pains that occur in our bodies are from inactivity, not too much activity! Understanding the benefits of activity may help us become more physically active. So, here are my TOP 5 reasons to exercise:

1. Exercise helps you control your weight. Not only can exercise help you lose weight (when combined with proper nutrition), it can help maintain weight that has been lost. Also, by increasing muscle mass, you are increasing your basal metabolic rate, which means you will burn more calories throughout the day after you have exercised.

2. Exercise improves your mood. Whether you need a little pick me up or you need to de-stress after a busy day, exercise stimulates chemicals in your brain that help you feel more relaxed.

3. Exercise enhances sleep. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep is essential for your body to operate at an optimal level. So, if you are struggling with getting an adequate amount of sleep at night, exercising during the day will help you sleep better. The timing of exercise to sleep is different for everyone and depends on your personal schedule. Try exercising in the morning to increase your energy, or in the afternoon as a pick me up, but typically exercising too close to bedtime may keep you up too long.

4. Exercise helps manage lifestyles diseases. If you have heart disease, diabetes or obesity in your family, you should consider exercising to help combat those diseases. Exercise (in combination with a healthy diet) will help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of diabetes and help prevent or manage a wide range of health issues including stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and certain types of cancers.

5. EXERCISE IS FUN! Once you become accustomed to the way exercise makes you feel, you will love it. I promise! Finding the right activity for you is the key. Maybe you’re not a runner, but you love to swim! If it isn’t fun, you won’t stick with it for very long. Find something you enjoy and someone to enjoy it with and you will stick with it forever.

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