By Dr. Dave Hnida

(CBS4) -First off, the reason for this list: a new report from the CDC says that Colorado leads the nation when it comes to regular exercise. More than one in three of us work out on a regular basis, which is tops in the country. Do the math, though, and that means almost 70 percent of us aren’t moving it on a regular basis— at least 20-30 minutes five days a week.

So rather than repeat the litany of reasons why you need to do more than just think about going for a walk, jog, bike ride, etc. I thought I’d throw out some unusual benefits the one in three of us already gets.

Okay then, there is longer lifespan, slimmer waistline, more energy, stronger heart, lower risk of diabetes, lower risk of cancer, etc. etc.  that are among the biggies.

But did you also know that other studies show some benefits that you may not have thought or heard of?

  1. How about better sex drive and performance. Exercise improves blood flow to improve function, and makes nerves much more sensitive. That can mean more and better.
  2. Better sleep quality with fewer bad dreams. Also fewer wakeups.
  3. Stronger immune function, which means up to as much as a third fewer colds and flu.
  4. Less risk of a bone fracture when, say, when you step funny and twist and ankle.
  5. Sharper hearing (so you can hear what people are saying about you, I guess).
  6. Quicker metabolism of alcohol, and less stress on the liver.
  7. Improved intestinal function—better than a probiotic. Also less constipation.
  8. Better skin tone. Microscopically, skin cells can be, on average, about 10 years younger than you. Better than Botox.

Then there is one extra, and it has to do with mood and attitude. People who work out regularly just seem to do better overall with their daily approach to life. Brain function and hormones click a little better, so you feel better, and you’re more likely to feel like you’re living in Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.  In today’s world, you need every advantage possible to feel good about what’s going on around us.

How does your area stack up? Visit usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida

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