Does the thought of exercising fill you with dread? You’re not the only one. Maybe you never enjoyed exercise or fitness. Or you might look in the mirror and wonder where all the extra weight came from, when you used to be so fit in high school. In balancing career and family, sometimes time for exercise falls by the wayside. Here’s the good news. You don’t have to work out for hours every day or be a natural athlete to exercise. By making a fitness plan that fits your lifestyle, you can find fun ways to exercise.

Why exercise?

You’ve probably heard how exercise is good for you, but you might not realize the huge benefits of exercise on almost every aspect of your life:

* Physical health. Regular exercise lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including obesity, Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and high blood pressure. Exercise also helps you sleep better.

* Mood. Exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize and lift mood. It also has been shown to improve symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, and can even help prevent relapse.

* Self-esteem and self-confidence. The more you exercise, the more likely you are to lose weight or stay at a healthy weight. This can be a tremendous boost to your image and self esteem. Your strength and overall energy will also probably improve as well, giving you more time to do things you love.

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