What are the Benefits of Exercise?

There are many benefits to regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise:

  • Makes your heart and cardiovascular system stronger
  • Reduces your risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure
  • Helps you reach and stay at a healthy weight
  • Improves your circulation and the way your body uses oxygen
  • Gives you more energy, which lets you be more active without getting tired or short of breath
  • Makes your muscles stronger and more toned
  • Improves your balance and flexibility
  • Reduces joint pain
  • Makes your bones stronger
  • Gets rid of body fat
  • Reduces stress, tension, anxiety and depression
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Improves your self-esteem and body image because you will look and feel better

Exercise Tips

  • Wait at least 90 minutes after eating a meal before you take part in aerobic exercise.
  • Don’t skip the warm-up and cool-down.
  • Balance your exercise with seated activities.
  • Remember to drink water when you are thirsty.
  • Rest as needed during exercise. It is best not to lay down after exercising because it reduces your tolerance.
  • Slowly increase your exercise level, especially if you have not been getting regular exercise. Exercise at a steady pace.
  • Don’t exercise when you are sick or have a fever. Wait a few days to heal. Ask your doctor or nurse if you have questions about when you can return to your routine.
  • Have fun! Choose an exercise you enjoy. Having fun helps you stick with your routine. Think about:
  • The types of exercise you enjoy; choose a variety of activities so you don’t get bored.
  • Whether you like exercising alone or with a group.
  • The types of programs that work with your schedule.
  • Any physical problems that limit your choice of exercise.
  • Your goals for exercise. Besides improving the health of your heart, do you want to lose weight? Build muscle? Improve flexibility?
  • Wear appropriate clothing and shoes to match your activity and weather conditions.
  • Schedule exercise as part of your daily routine. Plan to exercise at the same time every day, and stick with your plan.
  • Think twice about investing in expensive equipment or memberships unless you know you will use them. It is possible to have an effective, inexpensive exercise routine.
  • You may want to find a friend to exercise with to help you stay motivated and on track.
  • Keeping an exercise record will help you see your progress.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/27/2018.

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