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Benefits of Living an Active Lifestyle.

Besides the fact that we enjoy doing our favorite activities, it also gives us the edge when it comes to our health and overall well being. Yes, running  2-3 miles a day can have a significant effect on our overall health. It might seem like all we’re getting is sweat and a certain smell, but beyond all that sweat and smelly exterior, our health comes in center stage.  It has been proven, and backed up by medical science that doing aerobic activities can have a tremendous effect on our health.

Here are some of the key reasons why you should be living an active lifestyle:

Prevents diseases such as diabetes and heart disease

Indulging in our favorite activity can also help prevent and even manage the symptoms of some serious diseases. For example, regular exercise can help your insulin to lower your blood sugar levels. For people suffering with arthritis, regular exercise, or doing your aerobic activity can stimulate blood flow in your joints.  There’s even medical evidence that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, breast cancer and colon cancer.  Research has also shown that aerobic exercise can lower a person’s Triglycerides for up to 72 hours — triglycerides are a type of fat that are found in a person’s blood. We use triglycerides for energy, and excess of this type of fat can increase a person’s risk of heart disease.

Healthier mental  health

Everyone is familiar that exercise  or doing any activity make us feel better about ourselves. Exercise gives us a natural high. It releases natural brain chemicals such as Endorphins and Seratonin that helps us fight stress, and put us in a much better mood –fights depression.   Enjoying our activities also reorganizes our brain.  A study from the Princeton University found that exercise or doing any aerobic activity reorganizes our brain  to cope with stress better.   Exercise promotes the growth of young neurons in the hippocampus — the hippocampus is responsible for the consolidation of short term to long term memory and it is also responsible for spatial orientation.  As we age, our hippocampus shrinks in size leading to impaired memory or dementia. Participating regularly in our aerobic activities not only promotes the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, it also increases the size of the hippocampus by 2%.

You don’t have to work hard to gain the benefits of a sharper brain, studies done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia found that even exercising or doing your aerobic activity for about 20 minutes can affect your processing and memory brain functions.

Increase life expectancy up to 4.5 years

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) active people can increase their life expectancy by up to 4.5 years or more, depending on the number of hours dedicated to that activity. The NIH conducted a research with 650,000 adults ages 40 and up. After carefully considering other conditions such as socioeconomic status of the adults, the NIH found that adults who were constantly active increased their life expectancy by 3.4 years by doing the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise, and 4.5 years for adults exceeding the recommended hours.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the recommended hours for exercising, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults ages 18 to 64 to regularly participate in an aerobic activity for 150 minutes each week to get the benefits. This is just the recommended hours, any hours dedicated to physical activity is still beneficial. Obviously, the more hours invested, the greater the health benefits.

“Tune” our DNA

Going to the gym or playing our favorite activity –running, biking, swimming, etc.–  influences our DNA.  Actually, everything that we experience, whether physical or emotional, can influence our DNA blueprint. Science confirms that we are not at the mercy of our genetic code.  According to HeartMat, a non-profit research and education foundation for stress management in Boulder Creek, California, factors such as a person’s anxiety and stress level, happiness and anger levels, can also influence their DNA blueprint. The good news is that we can also alter it through positive emotions.

Positive emotions? Well,  how about doing the activities that we love? According to a research from the University of Karolinska Institutet in Solna, Sweden, our DNA molecules within our muscle cells gets chemically and structurally altered during exercise sessions. To prove this, they worked with a group of sedentary adults and have them do an aerobic exercise for a period of time. The researchers took a muscle sample from the participants before and after their aerobic activity, then compared the activity of muscle related genes. What they found was that more genes were turned on in the cells taken after the exercise. Also, they found that they showed less methylationmethylation is a process where methyl groups would settle on the DNA and would limit a cell’s ability to switch on certain types of genes.

Translation: Exercise tunes our DNA cells better, because it limits the methylation process which allows better DNA cells to be turned on.

Bottom Line

Get out there and enjoy yourselves!

By immersing ourselves in any aerobic activity of our choice  even for only 20 minutes,  we will still reap the benefits. Being active is still the best way to live life. Besides the overall enjoyment that we get from participating in our own active lifestyle, we also get a lot of bonus perks. And these perks are indeed priceless.

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