Getting a little bit of exercise is better than getting none at all. A new study shows this may be especially true for women.1
U.S. government guidelines suggest getting 150 minutes of exercise each week. The study showed that even people who exercised less lowered their risk of heart disease. The researchers based their findings on 33 studies of physical activity and heart disease.
The study showed, though, that more is definitely better.
People who exercised 150 minutes weekly had a 14 percent lower risk of having heart disease than people who did no exercise. People who did 300 minutes lowered their chances even more.
The link between more exercise and greater health benefits was stronger in women than it was in men. However, the study stated it was unclear as to why. It could be that women have an overall lower risk of having heart disease than men do.1
The benefits of exercising
While just 150 minutes of moderate exercise is best, you can start with less. Adding a few more minutes each week can make a difference.
MayoClinic.com describes some ways that exercise can improve your life. Here
are just a few:
Exercise controls weight. Exercise can help keep you from gaining too much weight. It can also help keep weight off once you’ve lost it. When you do physical activities, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day. You can walk the stairs or do some household chores.2
Exercise improves your mood. Exercise can make you feel better and reduce stress. Physical activity releases chemicals in your brain that can make you feel happier and more relaxed. 2
Exercise promotes better sleep. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Try not to exercise too close to bedtime, though. It may make you too energized to fall asleep.2
Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life. Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better. With most people, that has a positive effect on their sex life. 2
Exercise can be fun. Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend time. It gives you a chance to unwind. You can enjoy the outdoors or simply do activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails, or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just jump in and do it. 2
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t do 30 minutes of exercise when you first start. Everybody has to start somewhere. You may be surprised at how quickly you add to your exercise times. If you haven’t exercised in a while, check with your doctor first. This is especially important if you have health conditions or concerns.