When the weather starts getting brisk and forecasts of snow are on the horizon, I start feeling like it's time to curl up on the couch with a good book, instead of hitting the gym or the pavement. But as much as I'd like to succumb to temptation, I know that's a dangerous path to follow.
One day off turns into two, and before I know it, the scale is no longer my friend. When I start feeling a rut coming on, I like to remind myself of all the reasons to exercise. And sometimes, like today for example, I even find new reasons. Just when I thought exercise couldn't get any better for my health, science surprises me with a new study.
This one was published in October in the journal Neurology. Researchers looked at MRI scans of people's brains and found that those who did regular physical exercise experienced less brain shrinkage than those who exercise mentally, but not physically.
So if curling up with a book instead of going for a jog may mean that my brain will shrink faster, I'll be reaching for my running shoes.
Here are a few more reasons to dust off that exercise gear, even on cold days:
- Exercise may help you live longer. According to a 1997 study in the Annals of Epidemiology, participants who exercised regularly were less likely to die prematurely.
- Exercise can improve your quality of life. A 2005 study in the journal Current Opinion in Psychiatry review suggested that people who added physical activity to their daily routine experienced better quality of life, better mood, and functioned better in their daily life.
- Exercise can help control your weight. You probably knew this one already, but it certainly warrants a mention. A healthy diet and regular exercise program are the first things I recommend to anyone trying to lose weight.
Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!