If you are looking to live a longer, healthier life then the key is to get moving—even if you move just a little bit each day. Studies show that doing just a small amount of exercise—like 15 minutes per day—can have a huge impact on your overall well being and longevity.
Researchers studied over 400,000 people’s activity level for over eight years. The results of the study were that doing just 15 minutes of exercise each day (or 90 minutes per week) can increase your lifespan by three years. By contrast, inactive people have a 17% increased risk of dying early.
And if it feels good, don’t stop after just 15 minutes … exercising more than 15 minutes provides additional benefits. Some activity is good, but more is definitely better.
Exercise as disease prevention
Two of the top killers in the U.S. are heart disease and cancer and exercise is an effective and important tool for preventing both of those. One of the reasons exercise works is that it drives down insulin levels. Insulin resistance, which is primarily driven by lack of exercise and a diet of refined carbohydrates, is an underlying cause of nearly all the chronic diseases that can take years off your life.
Let’s take a look at the amazing benefits of exercise. Exercise helps you:
- Fight depression
- Manage arthritis
- Lose weight
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower risk of heart disease
- Build strong bones
- Increase energy,
- Reduce risk of cancer
- Improve prostate health
- Lower risk of diabetes
- Reverse pre-diabetes
- Slow the aging process
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease
- Boost brain health
- Relieve chronic knee pain
In terms of just prostate cancer alone, research shows that exercise can reduce a man’s risk of dying from prostate cancer by up to 30%. Also, according to studies on exercise and prostate cancer survival, men who participate in moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 90 minutes each week can significantly improve their survival if they already have prostate cancer.
Any comprehensive exercise program should include a variety of types of exercise. The following six exercises can help keep you healthy and keep your workout fun, interesting, and effective.
1. Interval training
This type of training incorporates both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, but the anaerobic phase has many more benefits for strengthening your heart, burning fat, and promoting production of human growth hormone.
Instead of just walking steadily for one hour, with interval training you alternate bursts of high-intensity exercise with specifically-timed recovery periods. You can get a lot more benefit in a shorter amount of time and reach your target weight faster.
2. Aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise or “cardio” can include such exercises as fast walking, jogging, or using an elliptical machine. These exercises increase the amount of oxygen in your blood, help your heart pump more efficiently, stimulate the immune system, and increase endorphins (which act as natural painkillers).
These are like intervals, but are based on challenging and increasing your current aerobic fitness level to gain capacity instead of endurance. You do bursts of high-intensity exercise, but instead of strictly timing the periods of exertion and rest, you vary them. One set you’d try to get to your peak output and rest, the next you use a bit less intensity, but rest for a very short period of time, forcing your heart and lungs to adapt.
4. Strength training
Strength training is important for men. It helps support men’s testosterone production and strength training is among the best exercises for prostate health. You’ll need to do enough repetitions to exhaust your muscles. Do not exercise the same muscle groups each day. Instead give each muscle group at least two days of rest to recover, repair, and rebuild.
5. Core exercises
Your core muscles are located in the back, abdomen, and pelvis. Strengthening these muscles has many health benefits including protecting your spine and helping to gain balance and stability. They can also help you prevent injury and can be great sex exercises for men that lead to better performance and control in the bedroom. Pilates, yoga, crunches, and stand-up paddle boarding are examples of exercises that help strengthen your core muscles.
Staying flexible is important for sex and for preventing injury. Yoga is a great type of exercise for maintaining flexibility. There’s also “dynamic stretching,” which activates muscles by using some of the same actions as static stretching, but with more athletic movement – for example, shoulder swings, hip circles and half-squats.
Don’t forget diet
Your workout will be ineffective if your exercise consists of running to McDonald’s for a burger, fries, and a supersize soda. Exercise really only accounts for 20% of the healthy benefits you get from living an overall healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition makes up the other 80%. If you want to avoid obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer you need to look at your diet. Avoid sugar (especially fructose), processed grains, and unhealthful fats. Instead look toward incorporating a Mediterranean style of diet with whole foods, fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. While getting a minimum of 15 minutes of exercise each day is a good start, you can do better by varying your workouts, working out more, and eating well.