6 (surprising!) reasons to work out

Boost your mood, save time and look younger with exercise

6 (surprising!) reasons to work out

Source: Web exclusive: March 2008

Eighty-one percent of Canadian women consider being toned and fit an important part of looking good, according to a Best Health survey conducted by Leger Marketing. They’re on to something: toning exercises can give you a slimmer, more shapely look by improving your posture and tightening your torso. What’s more, recent studies show that whole-body strength training helps stave off stubborn belly fat, control dia­betes and reverse muscle aging. Here’s six reasons to get moving.

  1. Resistance exercise may stall weight gain related to aging. Overweight, sedentary women ages 25 to 44 gained less body and belly fat thanks to twice-a-week strength training, say University of Pennsylvania researchers.
  2. Working up a sweat benefits both the body and the mind. For instance, harder, longer workouts were most likely to boost mood in obese women, according to researchers at Bowling Green State University.
  3. Resistance exercise may also help reverse the muscle weakening and shrinkage that come with aging. The muscle tissue of older exercisers appeared younger after six months of weight lifting two times per week, in a study conducted by the Buck Institute for Age Research and McMaster University Medical Centre.
  4. Climbing stairs burns calories, tones your legs and butt, and can save time to boot. Research reported in 2007 by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) determined that waiting for an elevator eats up more time than simply taking the stairs up or down one floor.
  5. For people with type 2 diabetes, adding strength training and aerobic workouts to a weekly routine may help control blood sugar better than doing just one or the other, according to researchers at the University of Calgary. This is consistent with ACSM guidelines recommending that all healthy adults should do both.
  6. Exercise can help you lose weight without losing bone density, say researchers at Washington University. They found that while middle-aged subjects in diet or exercise groups lost similar amounts of weight, dieters lost bone density and exercisers did not.

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