Everyone has heard about the benefits of exercising.  Indeed, a healthy body requires regular exercise.  Physical activity that includes a combination of cardiovascular workouts indoors and/or outdoors (such as bicycling, running, tennis, or football), strength/weight bearing training (weight lifting),  and flexibility/balance training (for example, dance, yoga, Pilates, or stretching exercises) provides invaluable benefits to the body.  Dr. Laskowski at the Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 times a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise 3 times a week, plus strength training twice a week.  According to Mayo's exercise scientists, seven proven benefits of physical exercise are:

  1. Mood. During physical exertion, the body releases chemicals such as endorphins that lift mood.  For that reason, people feel noticeably less stressed right after exercising.
  2. Chronic disease.Exercise combats chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis and diabetes.  For example, exercise triggers the production of new bone cells and lowers blood sugar levels.
  3. Weight management.Exercise burns calories.  It also makes digestion more efficient, increases energy demands to repair muscle tissues, and raises resting metabolism (energy needed at rest).
  4. Heart and lung strengthening.Exercise improves blood circulation throughout the entire body.  It aids the passage of nutrients and oxygen to tissues.
  5. Sleep.Exercising during the day helps with smooth transitions between stages of sleep.  People who exercise on a regular basis fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and reach deep sleep more easily.
  6. Sex life.When people are healthier, happier about their weight, and feel more energized, sex becomes more rewarding.
  7. Fun.The best kind of exercise is the type that combines efficacy and enjoyment.  There are many forms of physical activities to choose from for all temperaments, body compositions, and life styles.  It is common for people to try several programs before finding one that works for them.  Individuals' motivation frequently rises and falls, until exercise becomes a need which they find intolerable to neglect.

At BYU-Idaho, students have numerous choices of physical activities. PE instructors, Fitness Center personnel in Hart 152, and physicians at the Student Health Center are among those who can guide you in creating a system that works for you. To stay motivated, fitness incentive programs are available through BYU-I activities. To enroll, go to:


Consult current and past issues of the BYU-I Campus Wellness Newsletters at http://www.byui.edu/campuswellness/Newsletters.htm, for useful information on physical exercise.

Get more information from the Mayo Clinic about how exercise can help with anxiety by clicking here.

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