I don't know about you, but around this time of year, I start having some trouble with motivation. I reach a point where I'm absolutely ready for spring, but Mother Nature isn't ready to deliver. And it just gets harder to get out of bed — "five more minutes" quickly turns into no time for exercise.
So, I've had to get a little creative about finding motivation. Of course, I know that exercise is good for me, but when I remember just how good it is, my excuses fall by the wayside. I've collected my favorite studies on the topic, and I post reminders for myself around the house to help keep me motivated.
Here's a look at some of the health benefits of exercise:
- Prevent cancer. Postmenopausal women who follow a healthy lifestyle, including recommendations on diet, exercise and alcohol intake, were 20 percent less likely to die from cancer than those who did not follow a healthy lifestyle, according to a 2014 study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research. [7 Cancers You Can Ward Off With Exercise]
- Prevent bone loss. An above-average level of physical activity may delay the onset of bone loss after a person has achieved peak bone mass, according to a 2006 study in the journal Sports Medicine.
- Promote weight loss. Even moderate exercise does, in fact, contribute to weight loss, according to a 2012 study in the journal American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. Study participants were split into two groups, and one group was given directions to exercise. Exercisers were either assigned a moderate or intense exercise routine, while non-exercising participants were directed to go about business as normal (no exercise). Participants who exercised an average of 30 minutes daily experienced the most favorable outcome, with an average of seven pounds lost per person, according to the study.
- Improve sleep. For older adults with insomnia, physical activity improved sleep quality, latency, duration and efficiency, according to a 2010 study in the journal Sleep Medicine. Those who slept better also experienced fewer symptoms of depression and increased levels of vitality, according to the study.
Healthy Bites appears weekly on Live Science. 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!