10 Benefits of Exercising

10 Benefits of Exercising

Hearing or seeing the word exercise can make you feel one of two ways: thrilled or bummed. Those who exercise regularly, understand its value in their overall health and wellness. For those who don’t feel as excited about exercising, I strongly encourage you to read on. You’ll be amazed at how life-changing exercising can be, and it doesn’t have to be done in a typical gym environment if that doesn’t work for you. 

Below you will find ten benefits to exercising regularly as well as some suggestions to adapt physical activity within your lifestyle that fits your interest and personality so that it is enjoyable. For those who already reap the benefits of exercising, you may learn something new, gaining a boost in confidence that will motivate you even further to continue exercising regularly.

  1. Feel happy- When you exercise, your body releases Endorphins are a group of hormones that secrete throughout the brain and nervous system. Dopamine and serotonin are two significant endorphins that provide an analgesic effect within the body, similar to the effect of opioids. Exercise can increase positive mood. Mayo Clinic states that exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.  
  2. Build confidence in achieving your exercise goals- Some people are naturally goal-oriented. If you’re not, don’t let that stop you from believing you can’t achieve goals that you set for yourself. The key is to have the intention behind your exercise goals. British Journal of Health Psychology published a research study that involved 248 participants, testing how often people exercise over a two-week period. The participants were divided into three groups: a control group, motivation group, and intention group. Results showed that 91% of the participants within the intention group exercised at least once per week, while the other group showed that an average of 35% of participants exercised at least once per week. Establish a purpose behind the goal you set that genuinely means something to you.
  3. Reduce the risk of diseases and illnesses- The National Institute of Health conducted a research study that revealed a strong correlation between physical activity and prevention of hypertension, high blood pressure. When you exercise regularly, your blood pressure levels will begin to decrease because your heart will realize that it doesn’t have to pump twice as much as for someone who lives a sedentary lifestyle. Your heart will no longer have to overwork itself, reducing risks of stroke and heart disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the chances of over 20 different types of health conditions.
  4. Sleep better at night without tossing and turning- The National Sleep Foundation reports that exercise can significantly reduce chronic insomnia. Exercise can have a huge, beneficial impact on how well you sleep at night. Regular exercise over a consistent period can influence your circadian rhythm cycle. Your circadian rhythm cycle is your body’s natural clock that tells the body when its time to rest or wake. When your natural clock is in sync with your body functions, hormones such as melatonin (a chemical that induces sleep) will secrete at normal levels at the proper time for a good night rest. As our consciousness needs structure within our daily lives to operate, so does our physical body.
  5. Create an energy boost- You would typically think that exercising would make someone tired rather than energized. Well, it can give you an energy boost while going about your day. The good news is that you don’t even have to complete an intense workout to gain the boost of energy. In fact, research studies show that low-intensity workouts are better for improving energy levels than an intense workout! In 2008, the University of Georgia conducted a research study that showed low-intensity exercise could reduce fatigue symptoms by 65 percent. Take a brisk walk along a nature trail to gain an energy boost and an enhanced feeling of happiness and well-being.
  6. Increase in strength and flexibility: Weight-conditioning exercises such as lifting weights are great; however, you don’t have to lift weights to focus on strength training and flexibility. Don’t hesitate to explore other options that best fit your interests and personality. For example, yoga and Ta Chi are both passive practices that improve your body’s strength, flexibility, mindfulness, and focus. There are so many other physical activities that can provide the same results; don’t be afraid to explore other options.
  1. Improve memory- Harvard Health Publishing states that moderate-intensity exercise can help improve your thinking and memory in just six months.

Aerobic exercise is known for increased memory. Examples of aerobic exercises are swimming, kickboxing, hiking, using weight lifting machines, and dancing. What do all of these physical activities have in common? The repetitive body movements necessary for these exercises, create muscle memory (cognitively and physically).  You’ll be amazed at how you’ll remember where you left your keys, cell-phone, and wallet without having to take time searching for them!

  1. Increase self-esteem- Beauty does start from within; however we all want to look good and feel good about ourselves. Exercising comes with significant enhancements, one being a boost of confidence.

The Cleveland Clinic suggests exercising for 20 to 30 minutes every day, can help maintain a healthy level of confidence within oneself. Personal body image ( muscle tone, vitality, balanced weight, and posture)  is as important as your strength and other measures of physical fitness (https://www.livestrong.com/article/438937-how-does-exercise-affect-your-self-esteem/).

  1. Better work performance- It’s understandable that it may be difficult to exercise before work. It may even be a better fit for you to work out during your lunch break. If your work schedule permits either of these two opportunities, you may want to try it out. In 2016, Bangkok University conducted a research study that identified a positive correlation between exercise and increased work performance. Exercise can promote increased effectiveness and efficiency in problem-solving and decision making. You’ll experience increased levels of concentration, having the ability to focus on what’s important rather than tending to be side-track with trivial tasks.
  1. Live longer- Regular exercise can help you live longer. There is extensive research that shows how exercise can slow down aging. Increase in muscle mass reduced joint inflammation, decrease in bone-loss, increase in skin elasticity (fewer wrinkles), and improved cognitive functioning keeps you young, active, and ready to enjoy your life to the fullest much longer than someone who doesn’t exercise regularly.

The National Institute of Health published scientific evidenced that regular and appropriately practiced physical exercise is currently the best way to delay or even prevent the consequences of aging.

Exercising can be such a life-changing practice to incorporate into your routine. Your routine can be as specific as jogging at least two miles three times a week or as vague as completing at least 3 hours total of physical activity weekly. It’s important to remember that it does take practice to develop a routine of physical activity that works best for you. A well, customized physical activity routine will fit your lifestyle, family/work balance, and daily demands without much difficulty. Remember, be creative! Exercising at the gym can be great. Many people enjoy going to the gym. Some people don’t work out as well at the gym, and that’s okay. Explore different ways to exercise. As I mentioned before, taking walks or jogs surrounded by nature, yoga, dancing, and hiking are all methods that require physical activity. The key is to move your body and enjoy it! I wish you well on your journey in taking control of your health, feeling good about yourself, and living longer!

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