Hundreds of years ago, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon went on a quest to find the fountain of youth.
All he found was a bunch of fairly ordinary bodies of water in Florida. How upset do you think he would have been if someone had told him that the secret was with him the whole time?
Believe it or not, the true fountain of youth can be found in regular exercise. It doesn’t matter what type you do, as all forms are great for your health.
The important thing is to be consistently active, and preferably eating a relatively healthy diet at well.
Exercise Reduces Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
High blood pressure and high cholesterol are significant risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise can reduce blood pressure, possibly to the point where blood pressure medications are no longer necessary. Regular exercise can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides as well as increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Exercise Improves Strength and Flexibility
Exercise can improve bone and muscle strength as well as keep you looking younger. Lifting weights or doing weight-bearing aerobic exercises like walking or jogging will make you stronger. Stretch daily or do yoga to improve your flexibility. Strength and flexibility naturally deteriorate with age, but regular exercise can combat some of this deterioration.
Exercise Improves Mood
Recent studies have shown that people who are happy tend to outlive their more pessimistic peers. Exercise improves mood by triggering the release of feel-good endorphins and reducing the activity of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
Exercise Improves Sleep
Our bodies are designed to recharge and recover as we sleep. If sleep is inadequate, we are setting ourselves up for a list of diseases that are known to reduce longevity. People who exercise regularly tend to report more restful sleep.
Exercise Improves Brain Health
Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, even in people with a genetic risk of the disease. Exercise improves glucose metabolism in the brain, which lowers the risk for dementia-related disease.
In addition to reducing several risk factors for deadly diseases, exercise enriches our lives in many immeasurable ways. Exercise can give us an outlet to make friends and widen our social network. If we have the energy and stamina to do the things we enjoy, we are able to live life to the fullest.