We all know the feeling. Whether it’s an alarm going off first thing in the morning, or an end of the day promise you made to yourself, there’s a split second when you contemplate: Do I REALLY want to go to the gym right now? Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay in bed or veg out on the couch? Maybe so, but we all know deep down you’re not doing yourself any favors. Exercise is the gift that keeps on giving so when you’re feeling unmotivated, remind yourself of the plethora of benefits that go along with hopping on the treadmill or lifting weights at the gym.
Improving Mental Health and Mood
Feeling blue after a bad day at work? Lacing up your sneakers and going for a run in the sunset could be the answer to your problems. A benefit that goes unnoticed more often than not is the importance of exercise for mental health and mood improvement. Exercise releases chemicals in the body like norepinephrine and endorphins, which reduce stress and anxiety, boosts self-confidence and increases relaxation and productivity. Exercise can also increase longevity in thinking, learning, and judgment skills by improving brain function and structure.
Whether you’re working out to maintain or trying to shed a couple pounds before peak bikini season, exercise helps to increase your metabolism and control your weight. It’s recommended that your workout should be a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times a week to achieve optimal metabolism levels in order to slim down. What is most important about exercising for weight loss is finding a type of exercise that you enjoy so it is easier to incorporate it into your regular routine. Your routine should include some sort of aerobic exercise that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping, along with other types of exercise like weight training or yoga help to build muscle or increase mindfulness about what you’re putting into your body.
Reduce Risk of Disease
Anyone will give you their secret to a leading a good long life if you ask them; a glass of wine a day, daily walk with the dog. But a key that everyone can agree on is reducing your risk of disease, and a trip to a spin class or hiking trail can help with that. In addition to strengthening muscles and bones, exercise reduces your risk of heart and lung diseases, Type 2 diabetes, and colon, breast, uterine, and lung cancers. Additionally, working out can help with curbing addiction and quitting smoking.
No matter what reason leads you to your local gym or the great outdoors, taking care of yourself starts with a good diet and exercise. Exercise does not discriminate: any age, shape, or size can reap the benefits of physical activity for potentially longer lasting, and certainly happier, lives.
- “Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Feb. 2018, cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm.
- “Benefits of Exercise.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 5 Jan. 2018, medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html.
- Breene, Sophia. “13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise.” Shape Magazine, Shape Magazine, 25 July 2013, shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/13-mental-health-benefits-exercise.
- “Exercise and Weight Loss: Importance, Benefits & Examples.” Healthline, Healthline Media, healthline.com/health/exercise-and-weight-loss.