Exercise to improve mobility, sleep, overall health


We all know that exercise is necessary for good health. The benefits of exercise are endless, and it not only affects you physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.

Being consistent in your exercise will allow you to see these benefits, which include improved heart health, higher energy levels, decreased stress and anxiety, improved balance and coordination, increased bone density, raised metabolism and increased muscular strength and endurance.

Many individuals begin an exercise program with a certain goal in mind. However, the most common use for exercise is weight loss and weight management. While some who have never exercised before may see weight reduction when beginning an exercise program, most others do not. Exercise is a means for keeping your body strong and fit; it is not a primary weight-loss tool.

In order to maximize the benefits of exercise, both aerobic activity and strength training should be a part of your weekly exercise program. Aerobic exercise such as walking, running or cycling can improve your endurance and aerobic capacity as well as help reduce body fat. Strength training makes your muscles stronger; increases your lean muscle mass, which increases your metabolism; and helps reduce body fat even when you are not exercising.

While exercise alone may not help you reach your weight-loss goals, it must be a part of your healthy lifestyle. Your body is designed to move and is meant to be active, so focus on all the other good things it does for you:

- Exercise to improve joint mobility;

- Exercise to sleep better;

- Exercise to strengthen your heart;

- Exercise to improve your immune system; and

- Exercise to reduce your risk for chronic diseases.

Be sure to check with your physician before beginning an exercise program.

Missy Corrigan is executive of community health for Sumter Family YMCA. She can be reached at mcorrigan@ymcasumter.org or (803) 773-1404.