Exercise benefits list

Man jogging in park, getting exercise benefits
© Ed Yourdon

I came across this exercise benefits list today, and as I’ve been meaning to compile one, I thought I’d post it up.

I’ll add to it as I come across other benefits. It’s a great motivator — to just read the list and see all those benefits for your time and effort…

The biggest one isn’t there so I’ll mention it now — feeling good :-)

  • Decreased resting and submaximal exercise heart rate
  • Increased heart stroke volume at all exercise work loads
  • Increased maximal exercise cardiac output
  • Lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness
  • Increased aerobic capacity
  • Increased strength and cross-sectional area of skeletal muscle
  • Delayed loss of muscle mass and strength with aging and physical frailty
  • Improved balance and coordination
  • Improved flexibility
  • Reduced osteoporosis
  • Reduced joint stress and back pain
  • Decreased gallstone disease
  • Improved endothelial function
  • Decreased incidence of myocardial ischemia
  • Less myocardial damage from ischemia
  • Decreased oxidative stress
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Improved immune function
  • Decreased liver steatosis and fatty liver disease
  • Improved insulin sensitivity and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Less likelihood of depression, anxiety, stress and poor psychological well-being
  • Ameliorating hyperlipidemia: lower total cholesterol, higher HDL, and decreased blood triglycerides
  • Improved cognitive function in the elderly
  • Increased blood flow and neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hypothalamus
  • Prevention of the loss of brain volume in the elderly
  • Delay in decline of physiological reserve in organ systems with aging

Combine the benefits of regular exercise with the other five lifestyle elements and you’ve got a serious recipe for health and happiness.

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Michael Kinnaird is the author of Happy Guide, the result of a 20 year exploration into what works for health and happiness.

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6 thoughts on “Exercise benefits list

  1. Huge, huge, huge benefits from exercising. And this is a great list. They really should bottle it…

    But i still find in clinic you can rattle off the list of benefits but the clinchers remain — you’ll feel and look better and younger.

    Unless you’ve had a health scare, these two remain people’s primary motivators.


  2. Ha ha well you SHOULD! What’s the matter with you man!

    I’m with you, I haven’t got a clue what that means but hey, I’m glad it’s happening anyway :-)

    Yes the list is rather scientific. I have another list somewhere so I’ll do a compilation at some point.

    To be honest, I wouldn’t worry about your neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of your hypothalamus, but you definitely want to be ameliorating your hyperlipidemia — trust me! :-)


  3. Nice list Mikester. It’s nice to have a comprehensive list of all the benefits. I like your benefit best — to feel good. After all, we’re a species that’s evolved to move every day, so we feel better when we do.

    Also, ‘feel better’ is more real and motivational than some of the items on the list. eg. I VERY rarely say:

    “Right, I’m off for my run because I want to increase blood flow and neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of my hypothalamus.” :-)


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