It reduces your risk of the common cold
A consistent, medium-intensity routine is a proven cold-stopper. Taking a brisk, 40-minute walk 4 days a week, for example, can cut the number of colds you experience by 25 to 50 percent and can make the colds you do catch shorter by half, studies show. Moderate exercise boosts the number and activity level of important immune-system players called natural killer cells.
It improves depression without drugs
The warning signs of depression can sneak up on you, but there are ways to help treat it naturally. One study divided men and women with depression into three groups: One followed an aerobic exercise program, one took the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft), and the third did both. After four months, all participants had about the same improvement in their depression, suggesting that exercise could be an acceptable substitute for antidepressants. A follow-up showed that those who kept exercising regularly after the study, regardless of what their treatment was, were less likely to relapse into depressive episodes. Try these 10 calorie-busting exercises if you don’t like running.
It helps prevent and treat osteoporosis
A sedentary lifestyle can increase your chances of osteoporosis. During exercise, the impact as your feet hit the ground stimulates cells in the bones of your legs, hips, and spine to build new bone, preventing the thinning that can lead to osteoporosis. High-impact activities such as dancing, jumping rope, or playing tennis do more to stimulate bone growth and maintain bone density. (Check with your doctor first if your bones are already thinning or if you have joint problems or are prone to falls.) Strength training is also important. It stimulates bone growth when muscles and ligaments “tug” on bones as you lift weights, use resistance bands or machines, or do exercises (think push-ups) that rely on your own body weight to build muscle. Your best bet is a combination of high-impact exercise and strength training; in one study, this strategy preserved bone mineral density in women who had just reached menopause, a time when loss of bone density accelerates. Stop making this terrible workout mistake that can weaken your bones.