The goal of this article is answer the question "Should people over 50 exercise?"

Now, I know what you're all thinking: we exercise to lose fat so we can look good! To be honest, that's the reason why most of us exercise, and there's nothing wrong with that!

But did you know that exercise gives us some much more substantial benefits than just looking good? It's true! If you're working out just to look good, then consider these other benefits just a bonus!

Regular exercise has been proven to:
1) Fight Obesity: Obesity is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.

2) Improve Physical Performance: Resistance training will increase muscle size, strength and endurance. This, in turn, will help with improvements in work, sports, hobbies, and day-to-day activities.

3) Prevent Muscle Loss: Unless you strength train regularly, you will lose about 1 pound of muscle every year of your life after age 25. Resistance training prevents the muscle loss that normally accompanies the aging process. Resistance training can even reverse some muscle loss!

4) Increase Metabolism: The muscle loss we all experience each year (after age 25) creates a 1.5% reduction in basal metabolic rate (BMR) every year. A reduction in BMR means that your body is less able to use the food you consume as energy.....thus more gets stored as fat. Resistance training will slow, or even reverse, that muscle loss - which will increase the BMR.

5) Decrease The Risk Of Injury: Not only will consistent exercise improve balance and stability, but regular resistance exercise will do even more to reduce the risk of injury! Muscles function as shock-absorbers and serve as important balancing agents throughout the body. Well-balanced muscles reduce the risk of injuries that result when a muscle is weaker than its opposing muscle group.

6) Improve Blood Pressure: According to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure may contribute up to 50% of cases of cardiovascular disease which kills more than 12 million worldwide people each year. Regular exercise lowers blood pressure for most people.

7) Help Heart Disease: By helping to keep the arteries free and clear of obstructions, exercise helps to prevent heart disease. Regular aerobic exercise also lowers the Resting Heart Rate (RHR), a key indicator of heart health.

8) Help Prevent Cancer: Evidence suggests that 1/3 of the 550,000 cancer deaths that occur in the United States each year are due to unhealthy diet and insufficient physical activity. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.

9) Help Prevent Diabetes: The American Public Health Association has announced that being physically fit may help prevent the development of diabetes in healthy women.

10) Help Prevent Estrogen Loss: Regular exercise can prevent or lessen the impact of many of the changes women experience during menopause (particularly bone loss/bone weakening). There is some evidence that symptoms often associated with the hormonal changes of menopause, such as hot flashes, insomnia and depression can also be alleviated by exercise.

Well, there you have it.....ten reasons why regular exercise will help protect you from disease and add years to your life.

Even though many of us exercise so we can look better, we shouldn't forget the many health benefits of training. So without further ado, here are some more reasons to exercise:

11) Fight Osteoperosis: It is estimated that bone mass in women is lost at a rate of 0.75% to 1% per year from age 35 onwards, and this rate increases to 2% to 3% per year at menopause. Exercise also has been shown to prevent bone loss, even in older women.

12) Prevent The Common Cold: A new study (University of South Carolina in Columbia) suggests that being active may actually reduce the number of colds people get each year.

13) Emotional Boost: Experts also agree that even minimal weight loss provides an emotional boost and may give you the self-confidence to change jobs, go back to school, move ahead in life, improve relationships and decrease your overall stress level.

14) Better Pregnancy: There are new reasons to control your weight both before and after you conceive -- particularly if you're heavy before you even try to have a baby. Obesity promotes not only severe pregnancy complications in the mother, it also places the baby at high risk of health problems.

15) Prevent Disability In Seniors: It is reasonably safe to say most seniors wish to remain independent and active. To do so, exercise must be a part of their daily lives. Exercise can prevent disability and retain good health for independent living among older people. Experts have just recently become aware of exercise as a prevention of disability among older citizens.

There you have it.....five more reasons why regular exercise will help you add years to your life.....and you thought that exercise just helped you look good in a swimsuit!!

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