10 Health Benefits of Regular Exercise for Men
Why bother working out? Whose got time to walk? Find out what regular exercise can do for you.
Exercise Health Benefit 4: Reduced inflammation
Regular exercise has been shown to reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation. That matters because cholesterol-laden plaques on the lining of arteries are most likely to break off and cause heart attacks when they become inflamed. A 2006 study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that men with high levels of aerobic fitness, measured as VO2max, had lower levels of C-reactive protein, along with other markers of inflammation.
Exercise Health Benefit 5: Better blood vessels
To respond to changing demands for oxygen, blood vessels must be flexible enough to widen and narrow. Smoking, cholesterol build-up, and just plain aging tend to stiffen vessels, increasing heart attack risk. A growing number of studies show that exercise training helps maintain the ability of blood vessels to open and constrict in response to changing physical demands.
Exercise Health Benefit 6: Lower risk of diabetes
Adult onset diabetes — fueled mostly by too much body fat — is one of the biggest health worries on the horizon. Staying active can help you keep the weight off. But research shows that even for people who are overweight or obese, exercise reduces the risk of diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program found that an exercise and weight loss program lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes by a whopping 58% over a three-year period. And the volunteers in that program weren’t running marathons. In fact, the exercise they were doing was the equivalent of burning only an additional 593 calories of energy — about the equivalent of walking around six miles a week for most men.
Exercise Health Benefit 7: A hedge against colon cancer
Colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in men. Approximately 80% of cases of this grim disease could be prevented, experts say. A healthier diet (with more fiber and whole grains) is part of the prescription. But exercise turns out to be just as important as diet. Studies have shown that physical activity may reduce colon cancer risk by as much as 30 to 40%.