Many people view exercise as a means of losing weight and too often people give up when they don’t see the results they want. However, although exercise can be beneficial in losing weight, there are other (in my opinion more important) health benefits that are often ignored.

1) Improved posture. Sitting at a desk all day can have a negative effect on your posture. Chest muscles become tight, while back muscle are weakened, leading to rounded shoulders and back pain. A well-designed resistance training program can help to prevent and correct poor posture.

2) A better mood.  Research suggests that exercise is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, exercise compares favorably to antidepressant medications as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression and has also been shown to improve depressive symptoms when used in addition to medication.

3) Lower risk of osteoporosis. Inactivity and inadequate calcium intakes promote a loss of bone mineral density, resulting in an increased risk of bone fractures as one ages.  However, weight bearing exercise (e.g. walking, weight training) can actually help to increase bone density and prevent fractures.

4) Lower blood pressure. Exercise can effectively reduce blood pressure. For example, one study assessing the effects of 12 weeks of supervised aerobic activity in sedentary overweight subjects found a mean decrease in blood pressure of 6 mm Hg (systolic) and 3.9 mm Hg (diastolic).

5) Prevention and maintenance of diabetes. It is well established that participation in regular physical activity can improve blood glucose control and can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. A combination of aerobic and resistance training is thought to be the most effective  for blood glucose management than either type of exercise alone.