7 Reasons Why Exercise Is More Powerful than a Drug

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Heart Health Principles
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Exercise is an incredibly powerful health-booster!Pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe that every health ill that ails us requires a trip to the pharmacy.

But the fact is one of the best health boosters out there—exercise—doesn’t cost you a penny, and doesn’t have any side-effects. Just moving for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week boosts your health in seven powerful ways.

Every time you exercise you:

1. Lower your stroke risk. In an extensive study reported in JAMA, more than 70,000 nurses ages 40 to 65 without cardiovascular disease or cancer completed detailed physical activity questionnaires, and the results showed walking was associated with reduced risk of stroke.

2. Protect against osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, promotes the build up of new bone. In fact, studies have shown people who engage in regular weight-bearing exercise have higher bone densities than people of a similar age who don’t exercise.

3. Increase your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories even after you hit the lounge chair following your workout.

4. Prevent, and even reduce, high blood pressure. That’s because physical activity helps to lower the levels of stress hormones circulating in your blood (stress tends to constrict arteries and drive up blood pressure).

5. Alleviate depression. A study undertaken at the world-famous Cooper Clinic in Dallas showed that individuals diagnosed with depression who would normally be put on medication could get relief from 180 minutes a week of physical activity.

6. Reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. In one study of nurses 30-55 years old, those exercising seven hours or more per week, reduced their breast cancer risk by 20 percent. Plus, those who exercised just two to four hours a week had a ten percent reduction in their breast cancer risk. Other research has found that as little as three hours of moderate exercise per week, such as walking, can reduce breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

7. Lower your blood sugar by improving your use of insulin and preventing insulin resistance and diabetes.

Now it’s your turn: What is your favorite type of exercise?

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