Why Exercise - What's in it for you?

IF a miracle drug existed that could help you lose weight, live longer, build muscles, avoid heart disease, prevent cancer, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, stave off bone loss, and improve your mental health, would you take it?

Before you answer, you should know that it does require a time commitment. You need to take the drug three to five times a week, and each dose takes about 30 to 45 minutes to administer. Also, the drug causes most people to sweat and breathe heavily, but only during its administration.

Still interested? With benefits like that, who could refuse?

The "drug," of course, is exercise. And if a real drug produced the results that exercise can, scores of people would flock to buy it - despite the minor side effects. So why don't more people exercise? Good question.

Maybe exercise needs a good ad agency. An ad for exercise would tell you that physical activity--even moderate exercise like walking--will improve your health. And vigorous activity can get you even more fit. Coupled with proper nutrition, physical activity is the cornerstone of healthy living and can help prevent and control many diseases.

Better Than Any Pill
Regular exercise can help improve your mind and body in a variety of ways and help you avoid several serious diseases. As little as 30 minutes per day can have a positive effect and this can be cumulative i.e. 3x 10minutes, however we would still like to prescribe the full dose of 3x 45 minutes each week.

Strength and fitness

Physical activity helps build muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility, which will contribute to the health of your muscles and bones. This, in turn, can help you avoid low-back pain, prevent falls, and give you more stamina for everyday activities. Cardiovascular endurance also improves with exercise, so you can work or play harder without getting out of breath.

Weight control

Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease and can be a culprit in other diseases, as well. Exercise coupled with a healthy diet is the key to effective weight loss.

Cardiovascular diseases

Inactivity in and of itself is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The most common of these are heart attacks and strokes--the leading causes of death in Australia. And exercise can also improve blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes--other major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity cuts your risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases by 40%.

People who exercise, eat right, and lose weight will benefit the most.


Because physical activity helps regulate blood sugar, it can decrease the need for medication in people who have diabetes. It also helps control obesity, which worsens some forms of diabetes.


Exercise, especially strength training can protect against osteoporosis. Women's bone mass is greatest in their mid-20s to mid-30s, then declines slowly until menopause, when bone is lost rapidly. Physical activity performed during younger years will help you have sturdy bones at menopause. And physical activity begun during menopause will help slow the loss of bone.


When joints wear down, causing arthritis, exercise strengthens muscles and increases joint flexibility and motion.


Some studies show that cancers of the ovaries, cervix, uterus, vagina, breast, and colon are lower in active women as compared with inactive women.

Mental health

Physical activity can improve self-esteem and your general sense of well-being. It can also supplement medications in battling depression and anxiety.

For more information visit www.fitness.com.au

- Andrew Bryant<