Most people know exercise is good for them, but do you know just how good?

Being in shape is not just about looking good at the beach or being able to lift the heaviest weights, but having a baseline of (1) strength, (2) muscular endurance, (3) cardiovascular capacity, and (4) flexibility so you can lead a fuller, healthier life.

Check out this list of reasons to get, or stay, in shape. You might be surprised to see how many amazing benefits there really are.

1. Reduces Cholesterol:
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase “good” cholesterol (HDL).

2. Better Sleep:
Exercise can help you sleep better. People who exercise tend to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

3. Improves Self-Esteem:
Regardless of body appearance, regular fitness helps improve your self-esteem.

4. Reduces Blood Pressure:
Exercise not only reduces high blood pressure, it helps prevent it.

5. Decreases Back Pain:
By increasing muscle strength, endurance, and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain. Studies show that exercise is an effective treatment for recurrent low back pain.

6. Prevents Certain Cancers:
Some studies show that exercising regularly can help decrease colon cancer risk by 40 percent and may help reduce the risk of breast cancer as well.

7. Increases Metabolic Rate:
Exercise not only will increase the total number of calories that you burn, but also can increase your resting metabolic rate, so you burn more calories while at rest.

8. Increases Range of Motion:
An increase in flexibility decreases stiffness in joints, and can decrease pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

9. Increases Functional Strength:
From getting out of a chair, to lifting an object off the ground, our bodies are able to perform daily activities better.

10. Increases Insulin Sensitivity:
Not only does getting in shape help increase insulin sensitivity (ability of muscles to uptake glucose), but it can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

For 17 more great reasons to exercise, check out the full article on BuiltLean: 31 Reasons To Get In Shape and Exercise.

Source: Huffington Post
February 25, 2014
By Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT