Exercise is important to us for many different reasons. We either love exercise, or we hate it but do it any how. We'll even come up with any excuse under the sun to not do it. I am just like the rest of you, some days I want to exercise and some days I will do anything but exercise, which I know is normal for most people. But the closer I get to the holidays the more I have a need for stress relief and keeping myself balanced. Exercise does both of those for me.

Exercise also has an important impact on our health, including improved mood, weight loss and an energy boost (we could all use this one). It will even help with sleep and just the opposite, our sex lives! Let's take a few moments to look at each one of these health benefits in more detail.

Mood - When we move the body we release endorphins (chemicals in the brain) that make us feel happy and relaxed. Some runners will say they get a natural high from running, which is coming from the endorphins their body is releasing as they run. Also when we feel good about how our body looks, it helps to boost our self-esteem and confidence.

Weight loss - Exercise is a great way to burn extra calories. This seems to come down to simple math; if you are taking in more calories than you are burning in a day, then this will lead to weight gain. The opposite, of course, and you will lose weight. The number of calories we burn is based not only on the exercise that you are doing, but also the length of time and how well your body performs that particular routine or exercise. You don't have to spend hours at the gym for the exercise to show results, because small changes in your normal routine will help you burn calories.

Energy - Exercise will help boost the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your body along with increasing your endurance. My patients will tell me that "I am too tired to exercise," because they worry that if they exercise they will not have the energy they need to do other things. The fact remains, however, that if you exercise you get more energy. No excuses.

Sleep - Something vital to our body's ability to function. Exercise can help you get deeper, better sleep and help you fall asleep faster. However the timing of your exercise is important, because if you do it too close to bed you might have too much energy and then will not be able to sleep. Some people really work themselves to exhaustion in the evening while exercising, leading to better sleep. This works for them, but it may not work for you and your schedule so don't push it too hard just yet. If you are, in fact, having a restless night (whether your exercised or not), try doing some calming exercises or stretching to help you fall asleep.

Sex Life - Not much needs to be said about this. How we feel about our bodies, how much energy we have and our physical stamina all play vital roles in our sex lives. For women, our libido can increase with adding in some exercise. Men too can benefit from an exercise routine as they are less likely to have erectile issues as a result.

These are just some of the health benefits of exercise, there are many more. I know that excuses come easy, but remember to put yourself first and take care of your body. Make time for, at the very least, 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times a week and take note of what health improvements you see. Remember though, check with your doctor before starting any intense workouts to make sure they are safe for you.

For more information about exercising and your health, call Dr. Larrow at (415) 912-9934, for your free 15 minute consultation today!