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updated: 1/12/2011 11:33 AM

Daily exercise keeps us healthy and happy

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  • Chelsea Eppinger, 11, of Gurnee tries to avoid the throw of another player during dodgeball at the Libertyville Sports Complex. Experts say exercise is important in combating disease and keeping a positive attitude.

       Chelsea Eppinger, 11, of Gurnee tries to avoid the throw of another player during dodgeball at the Libertyville Sports Complex. Experts say exercise is important in combating disease and keeping a positive attitude.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

  • Adrian Garcia, 9, is hit by a throw from Andrew Lewis, 13, as the boys, both of Gurnee, play dodgeball during Open Gym Week last month at the Libertyville Sports Complex. The fitness center offered a host of activities during winter break to keep students active.

      Adrian Garcia, 9, is hit by a throw from Andrew Lewis, 13, as the boys, both of Gurnee, play dodgeball during Open Gym Week last month at the Libertyville Sports Complex. The fitness center offered a host of activities during winter break to keep students active.
    Photos by Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucherII@dailyhe

 

Fitness and losing weight are always among the top New Year's resolutions. Is there an actual reason why we should exercise and keep fit?

"Exercise makes our bodies, our hearts and our brains strong, and it helps us to think better," said Page Webb, owner of Santosha Yoga in Libertyville.

Studies have shown benefits that make that workout worth the sweat and the struggle. Some of the pluses are lower cholesterol levels, reduced risks for some cancers and better overall attitude.

The Mayo Clinic website lists seven benefits to exercise, including combating chronic disease, sleeping better and boosting energy levels.

"Since we're all made of muscles and tendons and ligaments and things that hold our bodies together, exercise makes these things work better," said Michelle Merz, coach and instructor at the Gymnastics Spot in Mundelein.

"When we make our muscles stronger and stretchier, we can do other things better."

Jodi Thors, a personal trainer and instructor at the Libertyville Sports Complex, adds the importance of a good diet along with exercise as keys to being healthy and happy.

"Kids spend time playing video games and in front of a computer," Thors said. She explained that more kids than ever before are being diagnosed with serious illnesses like Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

"Get outside and play. Move!" Thors said.

"It's important to make exercise a habit in your life because it helps your immune system," Webb said.

Exercise makes you happy because chemicals in our brains that are released when we exercise make us feel relaxed, she said.

"A lot of people enjoy group exercise because it makes the difficult parts easier and makes the joyfulness that much greater," Webb added.

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