Need an extra push to get active? Let the scientists writing for Harvard University’s HEALTHBeat persuade you. Here’s what exercise does for you:

1. Lowers your likelihood of getting heart disease. Exercise may help prevent plaque buildup and increase resilience in arteries as you age.

2. Lowers your blood pressure, which is good because hypertension is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, aortic aneurysm and kidney disease.

3. Helps prevent diabetes by shaving off excess weight, lowering blood sugar levels, and boosting sensitivity to insulin.

4. Reduces risk for developing cancers of the colon, breast, endometrium (uterine lining), and prostate.

5. Fends off bone loss. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, and strength training are known to build bone.

6. Protects joints by easing swelling, pain, and fatigue. Strong muscles support joints and lighten their load.

7. May limit and even reverse knee problems by helping to control weight.

8. Lifts spirits by releasing mood-elevating hormones and relieving stress.

9. May boost your ability to fend off infection, as shown in several studies.

10. Adds years to your life. There is good science that shows this effect.

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