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.
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Check it outThe Wauconda Area Library suggests these titles on exercise:
• "A Million Moves: Keeping Fit," by John Burstein
• "Exercising for Good Health," by Shirley Wimbish Gray
• "Get a Healthy Weight for Your Child: A Parent's Guide to Better Eating and Exercise," by Brian McCrindle, M.D.
• "The Right Moves to Getting Fit and Feeling Great!" by Tina Schwager
• "Real Fitness: 101 Games and Activities to Get Girls Going!" by Carol Yoshizumi
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.