Mature woman joggingYour body is an amazing and wonderful machine full of systems and processes that keep you healthy, active and functional. But, just like an automobile needs gasoline and regular maintenance to function at top performance, your body needs a few things to keep it running in peak condition.

One of those essentials is exercise. Our bodies were meant to move! This can feel like a challenge, especially when many of us have sedentary jobs that require long hours of sitting and concentrating each day. But, when it comes to exercise a little can go a long way! Simple breaks throughout the day and a goal of at least 30 minutes of cardio each day can provide the much-needed activity your body craves. Here are just a few of the health benefits.

  • Control weight
  • Improve mood and energy level
  • Manage blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Strengthen bones and muscles
  • Boost quality of sleep
  • Sharpen thinking, learning, and judgment skills

Does this list of benefits sound enticing? The great news is you can realize these benefits with just a few simple adjustments to your daily routine. It's recommended that an adult get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, which really is just 30 minutes a day, five days a week (yes you can take the weekend off!) Aerobic exercise is anything that gets your heart rate between 70% and 80% of your maximum heart rate. You can reach it while exercising at moderate to vigorous intensity.

Activities that generally fall into the aerobic activity may include brisk walking, running, swimming, biking or hiking. All of these activities help pump blood more efficiently to the entire body. Aerobic exercise is beneficial even on a cellular level! As we exercise, cells throughout the body increase the number and size of mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells. Their job is to use oxygen to create energy that fuels all body systems and functions. Aerobic activity is essential to this process.

Strength training is also an important component of exercise as our muscle mass can begin to deteriorate quickly when not in regular use. The Mayo Clinic recommends engaging in strength training exercises at least twice a week for all major muscle groups. Shoot for a single set of each exercise using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

Exercise doesn't need to be an undesirable word in our vocabulary. In fact, with just a few simple adjustments it can be something we look forward to and a huge benefit to our overall health.

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