Clearer Skin to Stronger Immune System

The hidden benefits of exercise

With more than a third of Americans classified as obese, everyone from first lady Michelle Obama to TV news anchor Katie Couric is advocating exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s great, says Dr. Eudene Harry, author of Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps, but the benefits of exercise go far beyond fitting into those skinny jeans. Here are five hidden benefits of a good workout:

Healthier complexion: The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed.

Natural “feel-good” chemicals: Exercise releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happy, relieve stress, and enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Constipation prevention: Exercise increases the contractions of the wall of the intestine, helping to move things along through the intestinal tract more easily and decreasing the time it takes to pass through the large intestine.

Prevents brittle bones: During weight-bearing exercises, bones adapt to the impact of the weight and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density, and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia, and osteoporosis.

Enhanced immunity: The increased temperature generated during moderate exercise makes it difficult for certain infectious organisms to survive.