Everyone knows the basic benefits of exercise; weight loss, building muscle, getting fit, being able to get that summer bod /six-pack abs we all strive for… However, not many people actually know about the UNEXPECTED effects of including fitness in your lifestyle. No matter your age or fitness level (that’s right, even grandma doing her aquacise will be affected), there are many more benefits than you think to include exercise as part of your routine.
Below are listed a few little-known (not to mention pretty useful!) benefits of exercise.
Hopefully, they inspire you to get active ASAP!
1. Boosts Your Confidence
Exercise greatly improves your confidence in a variety of ways:
– Setting realistic goals and crushing them creates an inevitable sense of accomplishment
-Learning how your body moves during physical activity and seeing what it can be capable of can be very rewarding
– Staying in a consistent exercise routine improves your time management and your daily level of efficiency, making you feel like you got lot done
– Seeing your body change and transform because of your healthy habits is a truly gratifying feeling
– Getting results makes you feel in control of your body and places power in your hands to create the body (and life) that you want, which is the ultimate confidence booster. This is when it clicks that you CAN do it!
2. Reduce Stress
One amazing benefit of exercise is stress relief. Bad day at work? Only 15 minutes of physical activity greatly reduces stress, so get your butt in gear and get to it! Exercise increases the levels of norepinephrine in your brain, a neurochemical that acts to moderate your response to stress. This makes you calmer and less reactive in stressful situations. Making a habit of exercising has shown not only to reduce day-to-day stress but also boosts your ability to cope with stress in general. This paired with the mood-boosting benefits of exercise makes an awesome combo to improve mental health and increased levels of perceived happiness. This brings me to the next point…
3. Improves Your Mood
During physical activity, your body releases endorphins, which make you feel happy AF. (This is the same neurochemical created during sex and when you eat chocolate by the way). Exercise even helps to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, which is why many doctors may give their patients a ”prescription to get active”. Exercise may be just as effective if not more than antidepressants, some studies show. Even a minimal amount of exercise is enough to produce noticeable changes!
4. Helps You Sleep
Ever notice how amazing you sleep after a busy day of running around? There’s a reason! Even light exercise can help raise your body’s core temperature, and when it drops back down to normal after a few hours, this helps to regulate your sleep schedule and tells your body it’s time to wind down for the night. Not to mention your body needs lots of sleep to recover from weight training! It’s important to get enough Zzz’s, because that’s when (muscular) gains are made!
5. Makes You Smarter
No need to take a night class to increase your mental capacity- studies have shown that cardiovascular activity can help your body create new brain cells (this process is known as neurogenesis). It also is shown to improve overall brain performance (so things like decision making and memory become easier). Working out has also been shown to increases levels of a brain-derived protein called BDNF, which plays a factor in keeping your brain healthy, and increasing learning capacity. This brings me to the next point:
6. Prevents Your Brain From Turning To Mush
Staying active before old age (between the ages of 25 and 45), helps prevent and lower your chances of brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia later in life. Exercise prevents degeneration of the hippocampus, the part of your brain that plays a role in learning and memorization. Keeping your brain (and body) healthy now is going to pay off for your future self too!
7. Improves Your Sex Life
If nothing else on this list yet has caught your attention or got you thinking about starting a workout routine, this one sure might! Weight training has been known to show increases in HGH (Human Growth Hormone). This is responsible for increasing your levels of testosterone, the hormone responsible for increased libido. This, paired with the circulatory benefits and increased stamina from cardio training, makes for a very healthy sex life!
Hopefully, these unexpected exercise benefits have given you some more insight into the WHYs of working out, and inspire you to try adding regular physical activity into your routine!