What You Don't Know About ExerciseEverybody knows that exercise is good for you. But even as someone who works out regularly, I had no idea exactly how many ways exercise benefits the body until I started following the latest studies on exercise physiology. Here are 10 things about exercise I bet you didn't know.
- Walking can prevent dementia
Yep, a study that followed 300 people for nine years found the simple act of walking about a mile a day — which takes just 15-20 minutes — slashed the risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia by 50 percent!
- Exercise makes you happy
According to Nannette Mutrie, Professor of Exercise and Sport Psychology at the University of Strathclyde, sedentary people are twice as likely to become depressed as people who are active.
- Being fit decreases women’s risk of getting breast cancer
If you’re a pre-menopausal woman, being highly active — defined as regularly engaging in strenuous activity like running or playing tennis for 3¼ hours per week — lowers your risk of getting breast cancer by 23 percent compared to your inactive peers, according to a six-year study.
- …and increases women’s chances of surviving breast cancer
Researchers studying nearly 15,000 healthy female patients tracked who got breast cancer over the course of the 16-year trial and who died from the disease. Women who were the most out of shape were three times more likely to die than women who were the fittest.
- A workout a day keeps colds away
Exercise at least five days a week and your chance of getting a cold plummets by 43 percent compared to people who hit the gym no more than once a week, say the results of a 12-week study conducted by David Nieman, a prominent exercise researcher. When regular exercisers did get sick, their symptoms were also less severe.
- Strength training slashes men’s risk of dying from cancer by 40 percent
Who knew that having toned muscles could reduce your risk of cancer mortality? That’s the surprising finding of a 23-year study, which showed that men who regularly engaged in resistance training were up to 40 percent less likely to die of any kind of cancer than those who did not.
- Sprinting for 7.5 minutes a week can help prevent diabetes
Researchers from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, recently discovered the amazing power of sprinting. When young sedentary men sprinted for just 7.5 minutes a week (comprised of several 30-second sprints), their blood sugar levels dropped significantly after just two weeks.
- Exercise cuts your chances of dying early
Which has the biggest negative impact on your health: smoking, a lack of fruits and vegetables, excessive alcohol consumption or physical inactivity? According to a 20-year study, smoking and lack of exercise are tied — increasing your risk of dying early by 43 percent (compared with 10 percent for poor diet and 18 percent for drinking 3+ drinks per day).
- Cardio suppresses your appetite
A study of male students found that after working out on a treadmill for 60 minutes, levels of ghrelin — a hormone that stimulates appetite — dropped, while levels of peptide YY — a hormone that suppresses appetite — rose. As a result, appetite was suppressed for about two hours.
- Running can save your vision
People who run between 1.2 to 2.4 miles per day have a 19 percent reduced risk of developing macular degeneration — the leading cause of blindness among adults over 60 — according to a study of 41,000 runners. Up that amount to 2.4+ miles daily and your risk reduction jumps to 42-54 percent.