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5 More reasons to exercise

It's no secret that regular physical activity can aid in weight loss, build muscle, burn fat, and improve your overall health. But there are hidden benefits of exercise that go beyond fitting into your skinny jeans.

The upcoming holiday season is enough reason to head to the gym to burn calories before you over-consume them while enjoying the food fests. It's no secret that regular physical activity can aid in weight loss, build muscle, burn fat, and improve your overall health. But there are hidden benefits of exercise that go beyond fitting into that little black holiday dress. Dr. Eudene Harry, author of Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps and medical director for the integrative and holistic Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, shares a few more reasons your workouts should be high on your daily to-do list -- even when the holiday busyness is your primary agenda.
The upcoming holiday season is enough reason to head to the gym to burn calories before you over-consume them while enjoying the food fests. It's no secret that regular physical activity can aid in weight loss, build muscle, burn fat, and improve your overall health. But there are hidden benefits of exercise that go beyond fitting into that little black holiday dress. Dr. Eudene Harry, author of Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps and medical director for the integrative and holistic Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, shares a few more reasons your workouts should be high on your daily to-do list -- even when the holiday busyness is your primary agenda.

Radiant skin

Using the right anti-aging or anti-acne product is one way to beautify your skin for the holidays, but Dr. Harry promotes exercise as part of your skin care routine. "The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed," says the integrative medicine expert. “The result? A healthier complexion!”

A truly happy holiday season

The holidays aren't always the happiest time of year due to family and finance issues or lack of time to do everything on your schedule. Getting a workout in can help lift your spirits and help you face the tension that comes with holiday planning, guests, and gift giving. "Exercise releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happy, as well as relieve stress, and enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence," Dr. Harry explains. "Exercise has also been shown to increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which gives us a natural high and allows us to sleep better."

Increased immunity

Exercise can enhance your immunity and reduce your risk of colds and flu. According to Dr. Harry, physical exertion increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, resulting in better immunity against sickness. "The increased temperature generated during moderate exercise makes it difficult for certain infectious organisms to survive," she adds. However, don't go to the extreme in the gym because overexercising can actually compromise your immune system. "You can actually increase stress hormones, which can make you more vulnerable to illness, rather than building your immunity."

Healthy bones

Though bone health is likely the last thing on your mind during the holidays, exercise is a key in preventing osteoporosis. Dr. Harry recommends weight-bearing activities, such as walking, jogging, dancing, weight training and yoga to help strengthen bones. She explains, "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."

Constipation prevention

Stress and unhealthy eating can increase your chances of getting constipated. "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," says Dr. Harry. "But wait an hour or two after eating before exerting yourself because exercising too soon after a meal can divert blood flow away from the gut and toward the muscles, weakening peristaltic contractions (and slowing down the digestion process).

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