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7 Ways You Don’t Realize Exercise Is Improving Your Life

7 Ways You Don’t Realize Exercise Is Improving Your Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Featured photo credit: Susan Aksu Movsesian via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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