Having an active lifestyle with time dedicated to exercise does more for you than just build muscle. Running day in high school gym class may have been met with moans and groans, but there was a point to it that we most likely didn’t care about. Just an hour of exercise everyday improves the quality of our day-to-day lives immensely as well as the longevity and the enjoyment we get out of it. Find a way to incorporate exercise into your life whether it’s going to the gym everyday or something more unique like joining a dodge ball league. Regardless of what you choose, here are 7 ways exercise improves our lives:

1. Reduces Anxiety

Exercising is a natural alternative to relieving anxiety. Rather than taking anti-anxiety medication, scientists from Princeton University have found that a short workout or a walk may be just as beneficial in getting rid of anxiety. Even if it’s just a 30-minute workout, scientists have found that people with anxiety feel better long after working out. Feeling anxious? Go outside and go for an intense run — even if it’s just down the block — to get rid of the anxiety.

2. Boosts Your Sex Drive

Exercising has been proven to improve the sex drive for both men and women. How? Well for one, exercising releases endorphins which make you feel ‘good’. Second, exercising increases blood circulation throughout your body and that of course, includes your sexual organs and thus making it easier for women to have an orgasm. This can create the feeling of being desired and undoubtedly get you in the mood for for some hanky panky given the right circumstances. The next time you’re off to the gym, take your partner with you. Working out together can be just the right boost.

3. Strengthens Your Immune System

Working out regularly helps strengthen the fighting power of your immune system in a few different ways. Because your body heats up during a workout, it reacts to bacteria similarly as it would a fever according to a study published by LifePrint. The study explains that as your body’s temperature rises it prevents and reduces bacterial growth. Constantly working out creates a natural fight against bacterias and viruses that can result in the flu for example. Sweating also boosts your immune system by removing bacteria from your body.

4. Makes Your Brain Stronger

If you haven’t been thinking clearly lately, the trick may be to make a stop at the gym for an hour. As you workout your muscles, your brain also strengthens improving the brain’s functionality. The New York Times interviewed scientists who found that when you work out, new mitochondria is produced within your brain cells and the more mitochondria you produce the more likely it is that you can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders. Your brain cells become re-energized, which, like the rest of your body, can handle much more when feeling strong.

5. Increases Your Confidence in Your Body’s Image

With regular exercise you will see an improvement in the way you see your body. We tend to be our own biggest critics. If there are things we don’t like about our bodies, we’re the first to be hard on ourselves and if there are things we do like about it we should embrace it. Regardless of what you look like the most important thing is that you feel strong and healthy. When you exercise, you’ll not only see your confidence and self esteem go up, but you’ll start to see your body change as it becomes stronger, energized and less prone to fatigue.

6. Consistent Sleep Patterns

Taking the time to exercise during the day can actually help you get a better night’s sleep. Seven hours is the golden number for how many hours of sleep you should get, but if you have had insomnia or are constantly waking up in the middle of the night, an hour of exercise in the afternoon may be your cure. One reason many people are not able to have a full night’s sleep is because they feel anxious before going to bed so they may end up tossing and turning throughout the night. Anxiety for many people can be relieved just by exercising, so if you tend to feel anxious or stressed out in the evening take the time to work it off during the day by going for a jog or walk. When you feel rested in the morning, you will have much more energy to go out and accomplish anything on your list.

7. Makes You Happy

Exercising releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. Endorphins are not the only chemicals your body releases when you workout. In an article by Self, scientists examine how exercise is one of the best cures for depression because your brain produces higher levels of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine as your heart rate goes up and those work as natural anti-depressants. While those three work as an antidepressant, endorphins work as a feel-good cure which can last for up to 12 hours after a half-hour run. If you’ve been in a bad mood all day or feel upset, go for a run, punch those punching bags and see how great you’ll feel after!

Featured photo credit: Susan Aksu Movsesian via flickr.com

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