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Exercise by the Numbers: 12 Reasons to Get Moving

Exercise by the Numbers

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We all know exercise is good for our health, but few people have taken a deep dive into the research to find out how exercise specifically improves quality of life. We can't blame you; sifting through scientific data is a full-time job! Therefore the people who have chosen this profession are full of inspiring stats you need to know. In fact, some experts say that exercise is the "single best thing you can do for your health!"

Read on to discover some of our favorite ways working out does your body (and mind) good, according to hard-core science.


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Percentage decrease in the amount of colds you’ll catch this year if you exercise at least 30 minutes a day.


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Percentage decrease in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes when people at risk of developing heart disease exercised 30 minutes a day (brisk walking) and ate a low-fat diet.


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The number of hours after a workout your body temperature dips, a benefit which experts believe may help you fall asleep more easily.

"Your body shuts down faster if you've exercised because it needs sleep to repair workout-induced muscle damage [that's how you get stronger] and replenish your energy," says Mark Stibich, Ph.D., a health research consultant at Columbia University. To reap the benefits of better sleep, move your morning workout to be later in the day (within 6 hours of bedtime).


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Percentage of women (out of 370 surveyed) who reported experiencing exercise-induced orgasms (EIO) or exercise-induced sexual pleasure (EISP) on more than 10 occasions. (Hey, it’s definitely an added bonus!)


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The number of workouts per week that research has shown to be as effective as prescription medications for decreasing mild to moderate depression.


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Number of workouts it takes to experience improved levels of concentration and reasoning skills. A study from University of Chicago found that students who walked or ran for 30 minutes before performing tasks involving "working memory" like reasoning, saw better results. "Working memory is your ability to focus while other things are vying for your attention," says lead researcher Sian Beilock, Ph.D.


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Percentage increase in your earning power if you exercise regularly, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Labor Research.


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Percentage decrease in your risk of breast cancer if you participate in moderate exercise 10 to 19 hours per week.


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Percentage decrease in your risk of coronary heart disease if you perform 150 minutes of moderate activity a week—just five 30-minute sessions. What are "moderate activities?" Anything comparable to walking briskly at about 3 to 4 miles per hour, including a wide variety of occupational or recreational activities such as yard work, household tasks, cycling, swimming, etc.


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Percentage your risk of early death decreases if you do 30 minutes of light or moderate acidity (such as walking or cycling) on five days a week.


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Percent increase in the volume of the hippocampus (the region of the brain important for memory) found in older adults, aged 60 to 80, who walked moderately for 30 to 45 minutes three days a week for a year.