Exercise: The Key to a Long and Happy Life

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “​​Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.” Exercise is a lifestyle choice which has one of the greatest impacts on a human’s mental and physical health.

 The most obvious reason for engaging in physical activity is weight management. Exercising, combined with a healthy diet, is the healthiest and most effective way to shape your body the way you desire. To keep it simple, the more you workout the more calories you’re going to burn. What people may not realize is the extensive amount of benefits exercise provides, outside of physical appearance purposes.  

Exercise is an extremely effective and unutilized tool a human can use to combat depression and anxiety. Those with depression who seek help from primary care providers are treated immediately and predominantly through medications, also known as pharmacologic therapy. Due to this form of treatment, “It is likely that many of these patients are not educated regarding nonpharmacologic strategies for managing the symptoms of their depression. Treatment of clinical depression can be improved by the addition of cognitive-behavioral therapies and by exercise,” states Senior Science Advisor Lynette Craft. According to The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed, an article from the National Library of Medicine, “The monoamine hypothesis states that exercise leads to an increase in the availability of brain neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) that are diminished with depression.”  It’s important for people who suffer from depression and anxiety to begin incorporating exercise and other healthy habits into their daily life, before immediately turning to medications for treatment. Exercise can also be a beneficial additive to pharmacologic treatment if the medication is needed.

Physical activity also fights off and reduces the risks for diseases and health conditions. Engaging in consistent physical activity lowers blood pressure and supports healthy cholesterol levels by boosting high-density lipoprotein, or the “good” cholestrol. This is an effective and powerful way to protect yourself from cardiovascular diseases. With strokes and heart disease being the leading causes of death in the U.S., increase your chances of living longer and hit the gym. 

Other than combating depression and various health conditions, incorporating planned physical activity into your routines enhances almost every aspect of your daily life such as, but not limited to: boosting energy levels, promoting better sleep and enhancing sexual performance. In theory, habitual exercise can help humans live a more fulfilling, productive, healthy and long life. 

A common opposition to exercising is the lack of enjoyability it holds. Beginning a workout routine may be difficult for your body at first, but the more consistent you become, the stronger and more comfortable your body will be. Find a routine that fits in your schedule and choose exercises you enjoy doing. Exercise is not limited to the weight room. If you enjoy the outdoors, find hiking or biking trails to run, walk or bike. If you’re a homebody, find at home workouts to do in the comfort of your living room. This also applies to those who can’t afford a gym membership. At home and outdoor workouts are totally free! The internet is an excellent free resource to find a workout plan. Find an affordable set of dumbbells, and let the at home gains begin! Once you develop a routine that fits your personality and your body becomes accustomed to strenuous activity, you can begin falling in love with exercise and watching what your body can accomplish. 

If you feel as though you are unable to properly exercise, there are plenty of in-person and online trainers who can put you on a workout plan specifically designed for you. As stated previously, the internet is also your best friend. Find a reliable video series, such as those which can be found on, and get tips on how to properly perform movements. 

Incorporating planned physical activity into your daily life is achievable, accessible, affordable and absolutely necessary to obtaining an extended happy and healthy life. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 75 to 300 minutes of aerobic activity weekly. These minutes should include a combination of both moderate and vigorous activity. They also recommend engaging in strength training for your major muscle groups at least twice a week. Consult a doctor before engaging in exercise if you have chronic health issues or any other  concerns. ( Consult a personal trainer to get help exercising safely and properly. It’s your time to start living, all you have to do is start!