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12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

When’s the last time you went for a walk, played a round of golf or went to the gym? A body in motion stays in motion and offers a plethora of benefits to boot. Here are 12 benefits of regular exercise your should know.

1. Exercise helps your mood.

Are you in a bad mood and don’t know why? Something as simple as a brisk walk around the neighborhood can help put you in a better mood and improve your state of mind. As little as 30 minutes of exercise can release chemicals in your brain that can instantly melt away those bad thoughts. And you can increase the benefits when you make exercise a part of your regular routine. Whether it’s lifting weights at the gym, taking Fido for a walk or doing yoga in the basement, a little physical activity will make you a little happier every day.

2. Exercise helps you sleep.

Have you seen a toddler taking a nap after a long day playing in the park? They fall asleep fast and sleep hard. And you can, too! When you put your body in motion and exercise, you’ll sleep better and fall asleep faster.

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3. Exercise helps your sex life.

Regular exercise will help you look your best and have more energy. Those two benefits alone can bring a new-found spark to the bedroom. But according to the Mayo Clinic, “regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.” So hit the gym and get a nice boost in the bedroom.

4. Exercise helps you diet.

Food is fuel. When you exercise, your body needs certain nutrients, vitamins, and calories to perform at your peak condition. You’ll find you crave more nutritious foods and won’t want fatty, greasy foods that lack nutritional value. And if you reject your body’s advice and eat a Big Mac before working out? Well, your body has a way of making you understand that wasn’t a great decision. When you treat your body like a finely tuned machine, you’ll find you’ll want the best fuel, and your diet will follow.

5. Exercise reverses stress symptoms.

Stress is a daily part life, it seems. With technology making real-time results more prevalent, the physical toll of stress effects nearly everyone. Physical activity helps nearly every symptom of stress and almost magically removes those symptoms. Tightness in the neck and back giving you back pain? Exercise can help loosen muscles and remove the pain. From migraines to depression, stress can be a terror on your body. Regular exercise will help reverse the symptoms and improve your mood.

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6. Exercise makes you smarter. And younger.

Researches say aerobic activity keeps cognitive function sharp and reduces the declining memory and processing speed associated with aging. So whether you take a spin class, train for a 5K, or play tennis, you can improve your brain power and fend off the affects of aging, all while having fun!

7. Exercise makes you feel sexy.

My favorite benefit of regular exercise? The way it makes you feel. You’ll feel more confident and well, sexy. Working out regularly will change your body, making all that hard work pay off in a very concrete way. And those small, subtle body “improvements” will help you have more confidence with the opposite sex, whether single and looking or married and looking for a little extra spice.

8. Exercise helps control addictions.

Addictions come in all shapes and sizes. From food to nicotine to drugs and everything in between, addiction plays a part a part in many lives. Exercise, especially distance running, releases many of the same chemicals that release with addiction. Running quite literally gets you high, and that helps kick those addictions by offering a similar payoff without the side affects.

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9. Exercise reduces aches and pains.

Movement is good for your joints and reduces stiffness in your muscles. It helps strengthen your bones and increases your range of motion. All these things means those aches and pains of years of non-movement can melt away with a regular exercise plan.

10. Exercise can be social.

Whether you play a game like basketball or tennis or join a group like CrossFit, or even join a Yoga class, exercising can be incredibly social and entertaining. These can be great ways to meet new, fun people and offers a great conversation piece as you meet people who have a passion for the same activities as you.

11. Exercise keeps you motivated.

Creating good habits and seeing results can help keep you motivated throughout other areas of your life. And when you feel great and have the self confidence, you’ll feel more motivated to do more than ever.

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12. Exercise is fun.

Best of all, exercise is fun. You’ll find it becomes easier and easier, allowing you to push your limits and accomplish things you would never have imagined.

No matter what you activity level or current physical condition, a regular exercise program can help you get fit and improve many aspects of your life. So take a walk, join a gym, play your favorite sport, or just do some stretching in your living room. You’ll be able to take advantage of these benefits and more!

Featured photo credit: Jean Henrique Wichinoski via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Founder, BrandingBeard.com

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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