TMH Living Well: Four surprising reasons exercise is good for you | CraigDailyPress.com

TMH Living Well: Four surprising reasons exercise is good for you

Hospital hosting Glow Run Oct. 18

The Memorial Hospital

MSPT

We all know exercise is good for us. It keeps our muscles and hearts strong, and helps us maintain a healthy weight. Yet there are several other benefits to regular exercise that you may not know about.

Once you do, you might just feel inspired to lace up those running shoes and head out the door to The Memorial Hospital's Glow Run on Oct. 18.

Better sleep

"When people exercise daily they tend to sleep better and feel more energy—which really improves their quality of life," said Dr. Jim Summers, OB/GYN with TMH Medical Clinic.

Some studies have found that moderate exercise six hours before bedtime improves sleep quality. Yet, the effect might not be immediate — a study showed that better sleep could take up to four months to experience, especially with those who have sleep issues.

It seems a bit counter-intuitive to think that exercising — which takes energy — would give us more energy. Yet it's true.

If you've ever felt too tired to work out but made yourself do it anyway, you know that somewhere along the way you start feeling better. By the time you're done, you are always glad you did it.

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Lower cholesterol

"We know regular exercise is good for heart health. One reason is that it lowers people's cholesterol, which goes hand in hand with weight loss, another benefit of exercise," Summers said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate regular exercise raises your good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Most reputable health organizations recommend exercising at least 30 minutes, five days a week.

Limited food cravings

Did you know that regular morning exercise might lower your food cravings for the rest of the day? A recent study showed that when people exercised and then were presented with food images, their arousal level to eat was lower than the levels of people who didn't exercise.

If you have a desk job, a morning workout routine might be especially vital.

"When we sit all day at a desk we tend to snack. We do so because our brain needs glucose to work," Summers said.

With a lower arousal level for food, you might be more apt to reach for carrots rather than cookies.

It makes you happy

It's a proven fact that regular exercise lowers mild to moderate depression and anxiety. When you exercise, your body releases feel-good neurotransmitters into your bloodstream, bringing on positive feelings and a sense of peace.

"The release of endorphins produces a wonderful feeling. I have experienced it a number of times. I think it's one reason people who exercise regularly start to crave it on a subconscious level," Summers said.

Summers added that he believes that if you don't watch what you eat, or if you continue smoking, you won't experience these great benefits of exercise.

Ready to start? Sign up for the Glow Run with TMH on Oct. 18!

It's meant to be a fun run/walk for the community, raising money for a good cause. The Glow Run takes place after dark, and participants will receive giveaways to help them glow.

"The Glow Run is pure fun. There's nothing competitive about it, and how you finish doesn't matter — just that you do it," Summers said. "So come out and have fun on a nice evening with friends and neighbors, and get some exercise while you are at it."

This weekly article with tips on living well is sponsored by The Memorial Hospital at Craig — improving the quality of life for the communities we serve through patient-centered healthcare and service excellence.

If you go…

The Memorial Hospital 5K Glow Run

5:30 p.m., Oct. 18; Registration opens at 4:30 in the lobby of Colorado Northwestern Community College

The course, which people can run or walk, loops around CNCC and TMH. Registration fees go toward Moffat County Cancer Society and TMH digital mammography services.

For more information, call 970-826-3109 or visit http://www.thememorialhospital.com/community.