3 Reasons To Keep Exercising
Dec 08, 2022
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Let’s be honest: Most of us try to look and feel good about ourselves. It doesn't matter! But, luckily for runners, walkers, and other exercise enthusiasts, physical activity can also bring some well-known long-term benefits, including longer lifespan, a stronger heart, and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes .
"Physical activity benefits overall health and longevity," said cancer epidemiologist Dr. Alpa Patel, director of the American Cancer Society's cancer prevention research strategy. "Going from doing nothing to doing something is where we see the biggest gains. The more you can do, the better."
Still not selling fitness? Here are three deeper reasons to make exercise a priority in 2018.
1. Boost your memory
The benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are growing. A new study from McMaster University found that study participants who did just 20 minutes of HIIT three times a week for six weeks significantly improved their high-interference memory. This memory can allow you to find your car in a crowded parking lot, said study lead author Dr. Jennifer Hayes, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University.
While researchers aren't sure why high-intensity exercise helps boost memory, they suspect that the surge of adrenaline during HIIT helps the brain focus. High-intensity exercise also produces more brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth of new brain cells.
Nervous enough to go all out when exercising? High-intensity exercise doesn't have to be painful to be effective, Heisz points out. Participants in the study performed one minute of high-intensity cycling followed by one minute of easy cycling, 10 times in total.
2. Reduce the risk of cancer
Here's some good news for those struggling with weight gain: Even without losing weight, participating in physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of breast, colon and endometrial cancers, Patel said. "Achieving an optimal weight is a very difficult task for many people," Dr. Patel said. "But a really good message about physical activity is that even without losing weight, there are some serious health benefits."
To reap these benefits, the American Cancer Society recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. Moderate intensity is defined as 3 miles per hour, or 20 minutes per mile.
3. Helps protect your vision
"More is better" is also the result of a UCLA study of the role of exercise in preventing glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.
In the study, researchers examined the correlation between speed and daily steps and glaucoma risk and found that the most active adults were 73 percent less likely to develop the dizzying disease than those who exercised regularly . Physical activity is minimal.
"Our study suggests that not only may exercise behavior be associated with a lower risk of glaucoma, but people who exercise faster and walk or run more steps may even further reduce their risk of glaucoma compared to people who exercise at a slower pace. Faster with fewer steps," said lead study author Victoria L. Tsang, MD
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