Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Psychosocial, Bereavement, Psychiatry

The Benefits of Exercise (6246)

The Benefits of Exercise (6246) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Psychosocial, Bereavement, Psychiatry


The Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is good for your physical and
mental health. It can help you to develop a
lean body, strong muscles, and a strong
heart. It can also enhance your emotional
and mental health.

Before you begin a new exercise program
you should check with your doctor to make
sure it is safe for you to do so.

For the greatest health benefits, experts
recommend 20-30 minutes of aerobics
(running, swimming, or biking) three or
more times a week, and some kind of
muscle strengthening and stretching at least
twice a week. If you can’t do that, you can
still get health benefits by doing half hour or
more of moderate activity at least five times
a week. You can begin by doing light
stretches and taking a walk around the
block. Try parking farther from the door.
Hide the remote control and get up to
change the channel. Take the stairs instead
of the elevator. Even small changes can be

Physical Benefits
 Heart Disease and Stroke. Daily
exercise can help prevent heart
disease and stroke. It can strengthen
your heart, lower blood pressure,
raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels,
lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels,
improve blood flow, and increase
your heart’s working capacity.
 Blood Pressure. Exercise can lower
blood pressure. It also reduces body
fat, which is linked with high blood
pressure (hypertension).
 Type 2 Diabetes. Exercise can help
prevent this type of diabetes by
keeping your weight under control.
If you have Type 2, blood sugars
may improve if you exercise.
 Obesity. Exercise helps to reduce
body fat, build or preserve muscle
mass, and improve the body’s ability
to use calories. When exercise is
combined with healthy eating it can
help control weight and prevent
obesity, a major risk factor for many
 Back Pain. Physical activity helps
to prevent back pain. It increases
muscle strength and endurance, and
improves flexibility and posture.
 Osteoporosis. Weight bearing
exercise promotes bone growth and
may prevent bone loss common with
 Falling. Exercise and strength
training can help older adults
preserve their independence and
reduce the risk of falls.
 Cancer. Exercise may decrease
your risk of colon cancer.

Psychological Benefits
 Depression. Studies have
consistently shown that both short
and long term exercise reduce
depression. The antidepressant
effect begins as early as the first
exercise session and lasts beyond the
end of the exercise program. Both
men and women of all ages had a
decrease in depression with exercise.
The greatest benefit occurs when
exercise is combined with
psychotherapy or medicine.

 Anxiety. Studies have shown that
exercise reduces all types of anxiety
in both men and women. The
benefits were greatest when the
exercise was aerobic (running,
swimming, or biking) and lasted for
at least 10 weeks.
 Sleep. Exercise contributes to restful
sleep. It increases total sleep time
and decreases REM sleep, a less
restful form of sleep than “slow
wave sleep”. Exercise has the
biggest impact on sleep among
women who were unfit or older, and
when longer and done earlier in the
 Other Benefits. One study found
that an 8 minute workout can help
lower sadness, tension, and anger.
Many people exercise to boost their
confidence and relieve stress.
During exercise the release of
endorphins, the body’s natural
painkiller, can increase feelings of

My Exercise Plan

I plan to:

Bike for 20 minutes on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.______________________
Do stretching exercises on Tuesday and Sunday._____________________________
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7207.

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6246