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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

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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