Exercise is probably the single most important part of any healthy lifestyle. It can transform the way you look and feel — but it seems as if most people focus too much on the “look” portion of it. Yes, exercise can help you lose weight, but if that’s your only motivation it will be very hard to stick to an exercise regimen. There are tons of other benefits of regular exercise besides weight loss; I hope they will motivate you to hit the gym after reading this!
1. You’ll have better sex if you work out
When you work out, you’ll feel better about yourself. When you feel better about yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable with your body. When that happens… let’s just say it’s a better time in between the sheets.
It’s been proven that resistance/strength training improves testosterone levels in men (and women!), and this important chemical will lead to increased energy, mood, and sex drive. You should work multiple large muscle groups (think upper body, lower body, abs) several days a week.
2. You’ll feel fantastic
Exercise produces a natural high. When you work out, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which boost your mood and just make you feel on top of the world.
3. Exercise reduces PMS symptoms
When you’re PMSing, you feel awful. Bloating, cramps and a desire for all things chocolate (at least, that’s how my girlfriend gets!) It may be the last thing you want to do, but being physically active can reduce all these symptoms! It’s even been shown to help with depression during menstrual cycles.
4. Increased confidence
This one is obvious, but should still be mentioned. When you exercise, you feel better, you look better, you’re stronger and you have more energy. All these benefits, in combination with the endorphin boost I mentioned earlier, will have a ripple effect on everything in your life. You’ll feel empowered, in control, and have more confidence.
5. Regular exercise increases your energy levels
Exercise, despite requiring energy to do, has been proven to increase your overall energy levels. You’ll actually keep going throughout your entire day.
6. Exercise improves cognitive function and memory
Want to be smarter and sharper? Take breaks from exercising your mind to exercise your body. Yes, there are plenty of knuckleheads out there who are strong as a bear with the mind of a gorilla, but that’s because they have the opposite problem — exercise is easy, learning is hard. There have been studies which show physically fit kids to have performed better on standardized tests. Even something as simple as going for a walk boosts brain activity and concentration.
7. Regular exercise will help you sleep better
Studies have shown that an active exercise regimen increases the quality and ease of sleep! Just try not to exercise too close to bedtime.
8. Strengthens your muscles and bones
Many people stick to cardio and never strength train — this is bad because although cardio helps your cardiovascular system (duh), it doesn’t help keep your muscles and bones strong. In old age, while our cardio system does take a hit, it’s our bones and muscles that go first. When you strength train, you’ll have more strength and energy as you age and you’ll combat all those awful atrophy problems.
9. You’ll be more creative
Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg used to hold “walking meetings” in which they went for a walk while they talked about business ideas. There’s a reason for this — light physical activity stimulates the brain and helps us brainstorm. These studies show people who walk, indoors or outdoors, and more creative during the exercise.
10. You’ll feel happier
Of course, the thing everyone wants more than anything else is happiness, right? Well, exercise is one of the keys to fulfilling that desire. Just get up and start moving, and your mood will improve almost instantly.
I hope these 10 reasons have motivated you to get up and go to the gym, or for a walk, right now! Good luck, and happy exercising!