Hayley's Healthy Habits: The Benefits of Exercising

October 23, 2023

The following article was written by Hayley Jackson, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC. A board-certified family nurse practitioner, Hayley provides Express Care Services at Wood River Health. She is passionate about holistic patient-centered care, lifestyle medicine and women’s health.

Turns out the old phrase it’s “never too late to start” rings true, at least, when it’s regarding exercise. October being Health Literacy Month brings a great opportunity to discuss the benefits of daily exercise. Aside from the boost of happy hormones released after exercise—also known as the runner’s high, you may be surprised to learn that exercise can improve brain performance, improve mental health, slow age-related changes, and positively impact one’s overall wellbeing.

Across the lifespan regular exercise has been shown to boost brain health. While exercising, the brain has an increase in healthy, oxygen rich blood flow. In children, it can enhance cognition while in elders it can improve memory, learning, and slow overall aging (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023). Additionally, those happy hormones released after exercise (called neurotransmitters) can lead to a decrease in anxiety, and depression symptoms as well as improve self-esteem. Regular exercise can help maintain a normal body weight which can greatly reduce one’s risk for other medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and can also increase good cholesterol levels (HDL).

In theory, exercising regularly sounds great, until you insert your busy lifestyle. For this reason, I always recommend finding a way to exercise that you love! This may be dancing with the grandkids, taking a hike, or joining a local class. Overall staying consistent, starting slow, and finding enjoyment in movement is key. Specifics regarding the recommended amount, frequency, and type will be varied on your personal history. For this reason, before starting it would be a great idea to discuss this topic at your next yearly physical with a Wood River Health provider!


This article is not intended to treat, diagnose, or manage anyone’s physical or psychiatric health. This article is intended to create discussion, create community, and inform. Please discuss your specific health and psychiatric concerns with your personalized team of professionals or emergency services if you feel this is appropriate.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, August 1). Benefits of physical activity.