You’ve had a long day at work. You just want to go home and relax, but there’s that little voice in the back of your head telling you to stay away from the couch and that bag of potato chips and go get some exercise. That is the last thing you want to do, but you know you should. The bottom line is exercise is good for you. According to mayoclinic.org, aerobic activity can help you: 1. Keep excess pounds at bay Combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise helps you lose weight and keep it off. 2. Increase your stamina You may feel tired when you first start regular aerobic exercise. But over the long term, you'll enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue. 3. Ward off viral illnesses Aerobic exercise activates your immune system in a good way. This may leave you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu. 4. Reduce your health risks Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke and certain types of cancer. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, help decrease the risk of osteoporosis. 5. Manage chronic conditions Aerobic exercise may help lower blood pressure and control blood sugar. If you have coronary artery disease, aerobic exercise may help you manage your condition. 6. Strengthen your heart A stronger heart doesn't need to beat as fast. A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body. 7. Keep your arteries clear Aerobic exercise boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good," cholesterol, and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad," cholesterol. This may result in less buildup of plaques in your arteries. 8. Boost your mood Aerobic exercise may ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation. 9. Stay active and independent as you age Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. Studies have found that regular physical activity may help protect memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills (cognitive function) in older adults, and may improve cognitive function in young adults. Some studies suggest that it can even help prevent the onset of dementia. 10. Live longer Studies show that people who participate in regular aerobic exercise live longer than those who don't exercise regularly. Just remember to speak to your physician before beginning your exercise regimen and start slowly. And don’t forget to have some fun while you’re at it!