There’s nothing wrong with working out to look great—but the true benefits of exercise are the ways it can make your health do a complete 180. Here, four ways working out can improve your life—and one important way it can’t.
It can help you stay lean better than dieting.
As we age, our diets often get better, and yet our waistlines still expand—all due to the fact that we’re exercising less, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found.
So, to keep extra pounds away, it’s more important to maintain high physical activity levels than to adjust your diet, they suggest. Both are important (duh), but exercise is the key.
It can fight the heart-damaging effects of fat-ass food.
Performing a high-intensity exercise (like jumping rope) for just eight minutes before tucking into a greasy meal can prevent the loss of blood vessel function that happens after you stuff your face full of fatness, researchers from England’s U. of Exeter found.
It can put the kibosh on cancer.
Keeping consistent with your cardio can pay big health bonuses when you get older, new UVM research has found. The study of almost 14,000 men showed that high cardio-fitness in midlife meant less chance of getting lung or colorectal cancer, as well as a 32% lower risk of dying from cancer later in life.
It can help you out in the sack.
Out of a sampling of nearly 300 racially diverse men, those who reported doing the equivalent of at least two hours of strenuous exercise weekly, three and a half hours of moderate exercise, or six hours of light exercise, had higher overall sexual-function scores than those who exercised less, the Journal of Sexual Medicine recently reported.
It can’t fight the effects of sitting all day.
We all know that sitting for long periods is bad for us—Apple’s Tim Cook has even dubbed sitting “the new cancer.” Now, a new study presented to the American College of Cardiology confirms that not even exercise will negate the damage prolonged sitting can have on your heart. In fact, each hour of sitting can up your risk of hardened arteries by 14%, regardless of how much you exercise.
So work to reduce your sitting time by an hour or so a day to better avoid getting into ticker trouble down the line.