Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
The heart is one of the biggest beneficiaries of regular exercise. It's a muscle and, like skeletal muscles, it needs exercise to stay healthy. Exercise makes the heart stronger and more efficient, so it has to beat less to pump blood throughout the body. It also lowers the amount of fat and "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) in the blood, clears out plaque that can accumulate in the arteries, helps reverse arteriosclerosis (artery hardening) and lessens your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
And don't worry if you're impatient, and think it will take too long to see these health benefits. Exercise has a mood-altering effect, relieving anxiety, raising energy levels and increasing sexual interest. It increases the body's levels of serotonin, a chemical that causes good feelings and decreases incidents of depression, and beta-endorphine, a chemical that's more potent than morphine. In fact, this release can occur just 12 minutes into a workout, which should keep you hooked long enough to reap the other rewards.