There are many reasons to make fitness a part of your everyday routine. Exercise is a great way to meet your physical health and wellness goals. And, according to recent research, staying fit can also extend your life.

According to a study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, engaging in a minimum of 150 minutes of physical fitness activity each week can increase your lifespan by two to five years depending on your lifestyle and demographics.

Another study by the National Cancer Institute concluded that those who work out on a regular basis can add up to four and a half years to their lives.

Here are some of the ways in which fitness can help you live a longer, healthier life.

Improved Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Blood and oxygen are essential for survival. That’s why maintaining a healthy heart and healthy lungs is vital if you want to enjoy a long life.

Regular exercise, particularly cardio aerobic exercise, has been shown to improve levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, which indicates how efficiently the body is able to circulate blood and oxygen.

Improved cardiovascular fitness can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. It can also reduce your LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Weight Loss and Maintenance

In addition to boosting your confidence, maintaining a healthy weight is necessary for good health. Excess weight has been linked to life-threatening conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.

Keeping up with a regular fitness routine, along with eating a balanced and healthy diet, is one of the best ways to lose weight and keep it off.

Studies have shown that cardio and aerobic exercise alone can lead to significant weight loss. Combine it with strength and resistance training to build muscle, which can help you maintain your results.

Stronger Bones and Muscles

In addition to helping you lose weight, regular exercise can also help you to strengthen your bones and muscles.

Making regular exercise a habit during your younger years can reduce your chances of suffering from age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia, later in life.

It can also reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis, which can lead to bone fractures and premature death in people over the age of 45.

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Better Sleep

It’s easy to underestimate the benefits of getting enough high-quality sleep. However, sleeping well is important for reducing bodily inflammation and maintaining a healthy immune system. It can also reduce your risk of suffering from heart disease and strokes.

One of the best ways to improve your sleep is by exercising regularly. A 2010 Northwestern University study involving participants with chronic sleep conditions determined that maintaining a consistent fitness routine can be beneficial for treating insomnia. A more general study concluded that 150 minutes of weekly aerobic exercise can improve sleep quality by up to 65%.

Reduced Stress

Another way that fitness extends your life is by reducing stress levels.

Exercise and physical activity produce chemicals called endorphins, which can naturally relieve pain and decrease stress.

Regulating your stress levels is vital for maximizing your lifespan due to the fact that excess stress and high cortisol levels can increase the risk for health issues like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Each of these conditions can reduce your lifespan and lower your quality of life.

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