Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activityBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676
Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity
You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.By Mayo Clinic staff
Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing to exercise? Check out these seven ways exercise can improve your life.
No. 1: Exercise controls weight
Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don't need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can't do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or revving up your household chores.
No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases
Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.
No. 3: Exercise improves mood
Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
No. 4: Exercise boosts energy
Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.
No. 5: Exercise promotes better sleep
Struggling to fall asleep? Or to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don't exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.
No. 6: Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life
Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there's more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise.
No. 7: Exercise can be fun
Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.
The bottom line on exercise
Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any health concerns.
The medical and recreational application of massage extends many years into the past. Ideally for many patients suffering from malignant mesothelioma, fibromyalgia, or a number of other pain-inducing problems, massage offers a natural, supplemental treatment to alleviate pain. Aside from having no side effects, this practice encourages harmony of the mind and body to holistically improve any person in pain.
Those victimized by the pain of mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, are ideal candidates for massage treatment. Many authorities in rehabilitation and medicine describe massage as a form of alternative medicine. While it is not a cure by itself, strong evidence suggests it assists more conventional cancer treatments. When combined in such a way, massage and cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or tumor removal have been proven very effective at expediting recovery while decreasing pain.
When one or many parts of the body need nutrient-rich blood to help repair damaged tissue, massaging helps transport the blood faster by “opening up” the blood vessels across which this happens. Once this is achieved, pain, aches and soreness will often be greatly alleviated thanks to the nutrients transported by the blood. Although there are variations in the massages that encourage such an effect, such as the heavily popularized Swedish massage and shiatsu, they all operate on this important premise in their unique, often culturally-derived ways.
For those with mesothelioma in particular, it remains important to reiterate that massage should not be seen as a cure but as only a useful aide in a successful recovery. The role of massage needs to be understood as more than just a means of addressing pain in order for it to be fully effective. In many situations, its application encourages a calm and relaxed demeanor that is needed for treatment. With a clearer, more positive frame of mind, patients often recover much more successfully than with a stressful one. If massage therapy appeals to a patient, all it takes to start a professional massage regimen is an earnest request to the primary care physician.
Although massage is a veteran among therapeutic treatments, its applications in treating cancer have just surfaced recently. With such rapidly growing success, however, massage is now its own area of therapy that serves cancer patients. The official name for this kind of massage, the formal practice of which requires licensure, is the oncology massage.
With the oncology massage, physicians and therapists must research each patient’s case, as cancer pain can manifest itself in different areas of the body and in different ways. For this reason, an educated approach needs to be taken in order to streamline the efficiency of the massage while avoiding damaging tissue or otherwise worsening the condition. When these considerations are carefully respected, along with an acute awareness and appreciation for the patient’s emotional state, a truly holistic improvement can be made through this treatment.
Any therapist licensed to administer oncology massages will likely know about the kind of treatments, such as radiation therapy, that most mesothelioma patients are undergoing in conjunction with massage therapy. This knowledge is extremely important in ensuring the success of a patient’s recovery. Often times, those who are shuffled around within the medical community fall victim to a lack of good communication between the various health professionals, which can stagnate recovery or even worsen the situation. Oncology massage professionals are specifically trained to communicate and act in conjunction with what goes on outside their own doors, out of true respect for the patient and the recovery process. With this therapy’s ability to seamlessly integrate into a patient’s standard regimen, many have seen encouraging results in their course of treatment as a result of massage therapy.
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Here "it" comes -- holiday stress. As families negotiate where to spend Thanksgiving, and millions of us are making the empty promise to ourselves to start early on holiday shopping, the anxiety begins to build. And it only gets crazier from here. Choir practice for the kids, family gatherings at every turn, office parties, treks to the mall, baking...you know where this is headed. So what can you do about it? You may not be able to control the chaos of the season, but there are some steps to make sure you survive it unscathed.
1.Take time for yourself. YES, get a massage. Soak in a mineral bath. Listen to the silence of a snowfall. Even if there seems no possible moment you can claim as your own, close your eyes, breathe deep from your belly several times, exhaling the air loudly from your mouth. Do this whenever you need a "moment."
2. Utilize catalog/online shopping. Don't fight the crowds. From the convenience of your home or during an office lunch hour, catalog and online shopping can eliminate the headache of holiday stress tenfold.
3. Eat right. Some of the best goodies come out this time of year. While you shouldn't deny yourself the opportunity to have a piece of grandma's pumpkin pie, don't overdo it. Remember to eat plenty of vegies and fruits to help stave off the winter's bombardment of colds.
4. Give yourself the advantage. Consumption of alcohol, nicotine, drugs and caffeine elicit the body's stress reaction. Remember moderation, you'll be happier and calmer in the long run.
5. Don't skimp on the exercise...but allow yourself to be excused from the routine when need be. Exercise helps melt the stress away and can provide that moment of clarity in a hectic day.
6. Don't try to be Martha Stewart. It's easy to get caught up in the spirit of the holidays with new decorating ideas, fancy dinners and the whim to make all your gifts this year. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Don't set yourself up for failure. Hire a caterer. Have friends help by having a craft day. Forgo making the gift wreath and give a gift you'll know they'll appreciate -- a massage.
7. Remember the spirit. When it's all said and done, no one will remember that the turkey was a little dry, that the sweater didn't fit, or that you were a few minutes late for rehearsal. What do they remember? The precious moments with family and friends.