What are the benefits of exercise?
A smartly designed exercise program will benefit your body and mind in innumerable ways. The benefits of exercise on mental health are well documented. For example, one major study found that sedentary people are 44% more likely to be depressed.
Another found that those with mild to moderate depression could get similar results to those obtained through antidepressants just by exercising for 90 minutes each week. The key appears to be the release of brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which help lift mood and combat stress.
We’re all familiar with exercise’s ability to improve cardiovascular health. But how does exercise lower blood pressure?
Interestingly, when you stimulate your circulatory system through aerobic exercise, you’re temporarily increasing your blood pressure by forcing the system to work harder—but when you’ve finished exercising, your blood pressure drops to a lower level than it was before you began.
Many people think of exercise as an integral part of weight loss—and, although diet is also extremely important, they’re not wrong.
But what exercise burns the most calories? Generally, aerobic exercises (cardio) are great for expending calories and reducing fat. But don’t overlook the effectiveness of strength training, which optimizes your body’s ratio of lean muscle to fat (It’s also the best exercise for bone strength).
There’s no Holy Grail when it comes to a single best weight-loss exercise. The best exercise to lose weight is the one you’ll do consistently. Whatever gets your heart rate up and gets your body moving—while having fun and staying motivated—is the exercise that will help you shed pounds.
Harvard Health Publishing