Being active has many health benefits

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Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Camden County, University of Missouri Extension

Being physically active is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Here are some benefits you get from being physically active and exercising:

  1. Physical activity and exercise helps prevent obesity and reduces your risk for cancer. Many research studies have shown promising results indicating that physical activity helps protect against colon cancer and breast cancer.
  2. Insulin sensitivity is increased by physical activity like aerobic exercise and strength training. After carbohydrates are digested, they are broken down and moved into the bloodstream as blood glucose or blood sugar. Insulin is a hormone that unlocks the cells of the body so they can take up the glucose for energy from the bloodstream. As we age or become overweight, our bodies don’t respond as well to insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes if blood sugar levels continue to rise.
  3. Resistance or weight training helps build muscle. When done three times a week, strength training improves strength and muscle mass in people of all ages. You should perform one or two sets of eight to 12 repetitions for all the major muscles of the body.
  4. Exercise helps with stress management — this may be because of neurotransmitters that are stimulated during physical activity. Anyone who exercises regularly can expect to feel less anxious, more relaxed, have better self-image and may eat healthier.

And the list goes on! To see the complete list and learn about additional health benefits, check out the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/features/healtharticles/health100.htm

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