While many people agree that daily exercise is beneficial, health advocates like Dr. James Hauschildt know that fitness can ensure a longer life and decrease a patient’s risk of adverse health conditions. While increasing lifespan, daily exercise promotes cardiovascular health, strength, and provides significant protection against obesity.
Regular exercise can increase life expectancy by many years. Moderate exercise performed for 150 minutes per week resulted in up to 3.4 years of greater life expectancy. This is an impressive benefit for patients at any level of physical conditioning. Since even obese patients can experience these benefits, physicians encourage all of their patients to be more active.
Here are the ways in which regular exercise can lengthen life expectancy and promote a greater quality of life.
Exercise is a major factor in preventing weight gain or maintaining weight loss. When people burn more calories than they consume, they can see weight loss benefits for themselves. Doctors recommend that any kind of physical activity is beneficial for weight control. Dr. James Hauschildt says that people can add more physical activity to their day by walking to work, taking the stairs, or engaging in light strength training. Something as simple as briskly walking a dog for 30 minutes can result in measurable benefits.
Prevention of Disease
Exercise has strong benefits for the cardiovascular system in particular. Regular physical activity is known to increase the levels of HDL or high-density lipoprotein, known as “good” cholesterol. Higher activity levels also help to decrease triglycerides. These cholesterol benefits are crucial in maintaining heart health and ensuring a longer lifespan.
Exercise also helps to reduce blood pressure. High blood pressure is the cause of many serious physical problems such as strokes. It can also severely impact kidney function. People should try to achieve blood pressure readings below 130 over 80.
Regular exercise can also help to prevent and in some cases reverse Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s resistance to insulin, leading to poor control of blood sugar. Patients with Type 1 diabetes can also experience benefits from regular exercise.
Many studies claim that regular exercise is beneficial for patients with arthritis. It strengthens the muscles and increases flexibility. When patients do not engage in exercise, they may feel stiffer and may be less able to accomplish simple tasks. This may not be a life-extending benefit, but it certainly leads to a better quality of life.
Mental Health Benefits
Many studies confirm that exercise benefits patients with anxiety and depression. Since suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, it makes sense that treating depression and anxiety would lengthen the lives of these patients. Exercise helps patients work off negative feelings and increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the body. These are chemicals that naturally boost a patient’s mood.
In a clinical trial analysis, physicians found that patients with advanced cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma had better health outcomes than those who did not exercise. Physical function, weight, energy levels, sleep quality, and psychological factors were all positively impacted.
Prevention of Accidents
Patients who are prone to falling may have better balance and coordination if they exercise regularly. Sedentary patients who are prone to falls have a more difficult time getting around than patients who exercise. Falls can be fatal in elderly patients in poor physical condition.
Exercise for a Longer Life
Many studies point to the long-term benefits of exercise for promoting longevity and an increased quality of life. Specific conditions like heart disease and diabetes can receive direct benefits from activity. Mental health benefits are another important reason to exercise. Dr. James Hauschildt recommends to engage in regular physical activity of at least 150 minutes per week, ensuring their future health and wellness.