Top 5 Benefits of Exercise
Waking up at 6:00am. Hitting the treadmill after work? Depriving myself of chocolate? Why the hell am I doing this again?
Maybe you’re trying lose weight, to keep your heart healthy and blood pressure down, to look better or fit into that wedding dress? There are lots of different reasons that push people to get up off the couch and exercise regularly. Regardless of your goal or reason, regular physical activity can also offer emotional and psychological benefits.
1. Fight Depression.
There is a considerable amount of research that suggests regular exercise is just as effective as prescription medication in battling mild to moderate depression. Why? Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which can help numb the body’s pain perception. Take note of how you feel after a brisk walk or workout. If the activity was challenging enough, then you should feel more energy and optimism. The reason for this positive feeling is a result of endorphins being released during your exercise, which can result in a ‘natural high’. For a double dose of good stuff try exercising outdoors as Vitamin D from the sun’s rays has been noted to also positively affect your mood and help fight those winter blues caused by a reduction in exposure to sunlight.
2. Flex Your Mind.
Exercise can optimize your brain power by helping you stay more positive, focused, and alert. This creates an ideal environment for your mind to digest, process, and retain new information. After your next workout, take 5 minutes to concentrate on an issue or problem that you are currently dealing with. The ease of formulating solutions and the clarity of which you see these solutions is amazing. On top of all this, there is scientific evidence showing that regular physical activity can reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s and dementia.
3. Better Sleep.
Studies suggest that tiring your body out with a good workout in the morning or afternoon can also encourage a better snooze at night, helping you to fall asleep faster and more deeply. An evening workout doesn’t hurt either as long as you leave 60-90 minutes for your body and mind to settle down. A good night’s sleep not only allows your body to grow and repair itself from your workout but is also important in improving your immunity against common colds, the flu, and other illnesses.
4. Ramp Up Your Sex Life.
A number of studies indicate that exercise can actually improve activity in the bedroom for men and women alike. Since physical activity increases your self-esteem, people who work out feel more sexually desirable and satisfied. Research at the University of British Columbia also revealed that women who engaged in physical activity were more sexually responsive than those who did not exercise. While another study from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that physically active men are 30 per cent less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than their physically inactive counterparts.
5. Kick Stress in the But.
When you’re moving, you’re releasing physical tensions that have built up over the course of the day. Many researchers believe that through exercise, you can also reduce the release of stress hormones, specifically cortisol, while increasing those mood-boosting endorphins. Running, team sports, swimming, biking, all shift your focus away from the daily grind and stresses of work, family, and personal life. For many people, exercise also offers the opportunity for social interaction which is important in making you feel more connected to others and also help reduce stress levels.