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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

The Top 10 Reasons Why Men Should Exercise

May 28, 2011 04:20PM ● By Bill McHugh, M.S., Certified Personal Trainer

  1. Improve your game—Whether it’s golf, weekend-warrior basketball, softball, skiing, or another sport, exercise increases your flexibility, speed, strength, and endurance to perform any sport better. Lugging around fewer pounds will also help you to be quicker on your feet and improve movement. Getting in shape also helps reduce the likelihood of injury to keep you in the game longer and stronger.
  2. Boost your immune system— Research is uncovering a link between moderate, regularexerciseand a strong immune system. Moderate exercise is linked to a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. More-recent studies have shown that there are physiological changes in the immune system as a response to exercise. During moderate exercise, immune cells circulate through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. This boost in immune system strength seems to have a cumulative effect with consistent exercise. Strengthening your immune system will ultimately keep you out of the doctor’s office, more productive at work, and healthier on the home front as well.
  3. Decrease back pain—Less weight around the midsection relieves stress from the lumbar spine, and working the abs for a stronger core will almost immediately decrease back pain. Adding stretching to a workout will even further decrease back pain and perhaps make back pain go away for good! When the body is subjected to stress such as a continuous workout, a peptide is produced in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus and is released into the central nervous system. This peptide is better known as an endorphin, a natural painkiller that promotes a sense of well-being. 
  4. Eliminate stress—When you are under stress, the body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine. Excessive amounts of these hormones are linked to depression and hypertension, zap your energy, and decrease your immune system, which can lead to other ailments. Exercise prevents an excessive buildup of these hormones; as a result, you feel better, think more clearly, and have a more positive attitude. Whether you start your day with a good, clear, positive attitude from exercise or blow off the day’s steam with an end-of-the-day stress-busting workout, exercise is the best way to reduce stress.
  5. Increase muscle—Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. For every year past age 20, you can lose up to a pound of muscle per year. For every pound of muscle you add to your body, you burn an extra 50 to 100 calories a day at rest. In addition to looking more “cut and ripped,” adding lean tissue increases metabolism, helping you burn fat more effectively.
  6. Lower blood pressure—Daily exercise helps regulate blood pressure. When you enhance your cardiovascular endurance, your heart becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping blood through your arteries. A stronger heart can pump blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure and thereby decreasing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Check your blood pressure regularly while on an exercise program and under the guidance of your physician. With proper exercise, some people may be able to decrease the dosage of their blood pressure medication—and even reach a point where they don’t need any medication at all.
  7. Lower cholesterol—Exercising increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol. This cholesterol acts like the garbage truck in the bloodstream, removing the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) artery-clogging kind of cholesterol from the blood to the liver. Just thirty minutes of cardiovascular exercise a few times per week helps lowers cholesterol by helping you lose or maintain weight. Being overweight tends to increase the amount of LDL in your blood; high LDL levels are linked to heart disease.
  8. Increase youthfulness— During exercise, certain hormones and enzymatic activity are released, andprotein is built. When exercise is combined with good nutrition, people feel fewer muscle aches and pains, enjoy a boost in energy, have increased strength and enhanced speed, and can react more quickly, all which leads to a more youthful feeling. Exercise also improves cognitive performance. A study reported on Web MD found that Alzheimer’s patients who were in poor physical condition experienced up to four times more brain shrinkage than those who were physically fit.
  9. Boost testosterone levels—Testosterone is one of the most critical hormones in the male body. It not only keeps your sex drive alive, but also boosts the development of your muscles, your overall energy levels, and even cognitive functions such as attentiveness and memory. While testosterone levels decrease with age, the good news is that men can boost these levels naturally with regular, consistent strength-training exercise. Research also tells us that getting enough sleep affects testosterone levels. If you don’t allow your body an average of seven to eight hours of sound sleep per night, your testosterone level may dip drastically!
  10. Improve attitude—Most people know that exercise brings about physical improvements, but more and more research points to the significant mood-enhancing effects of exercise, even low-intensity exercise of only 10 minutes or more. And when you exercise, you naturally feel better about yourself. You’re happier with what you see in the mirror, your clothes fit more comfortably, and your sense of self-esteem is raised. Consistent exercise improves your mood, boosts your confidence, and helps you maintain a better attitude overall!

Bill McHugh, a certified personal trainer with a Master’s degree in Exercise Science, is the owner and president of Fitness Consulting, Inc., which provides in-home personal training, nutritional counseling, massage therapy, and corporate wellness programs. He has been providing professional health and fitness services to New Jersey residents for more than fifteen years. Contact him at [email protected] or visit

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