Hello SOTGC community,
We all know that exercise is good for us, but beyond some obvious benefits (weight control, strength, and cardiovascular health), it may help to understand some of the other reasons you may want lace up those sneakers.
Here are ten “other” reasons to get moving:
Increased Energy – I know … the last thing you want to do when you are tired is work out. But, the next time you tell yourself you are too tired to exercise, know that by spending a little energy at the outset, you’ll actually gain more in the long run.
Improved Sleep – Not only will exercise help you fall asleep better, it will also improve the quality and duration of your sleep. If you want to feel well-rested in the morning, opt for some exercise instead of popping a pill. And remember that exercise is energizing, so it is best not done right before bed (unless of course you are enjoying a little romantic exercise).
Mood Boost – Having run a half-marathon many years ago, I can now say that I know what a “runner’s high” feels like; that sense of euphoria (mild in my case) that is felt from the release of various feel-good neurochemicals into the brain. Don’t worry though; you don’t have to run long distance, or run at all, to get a mood boost. Regular physical exercise in general has repeatedly been shown to be as effective at combating depression as several prescription medications. Every little bit helps; believe it or not, even activities like gardening have been proven to have mood-boosting effects.
Immune Boost and Disease Prevention – Physical activity helps flush bacteria and viruses out of our bodies. It also causes our bodies to release antibodies and white bloods cells into our system at an accelerated rate, which means that these “defense cells” may find and conquer illness in a more efficient way.
Stress Management – Those of you that exercise to blow off steam don’t need any convincing of this benefit. Exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones in the body. Plus, if we already know it can boost our mood, elevate our energy, and improve our sleep, we are less likely to be stressed in the first place.
Pain Management – Many types of pain, especially chronic back pain and even arthritis, can be improved with gentle exercise. People with pain tend to want to remain immobile in order to protect themselves from further pain or injury. Unfortunately, our muscles can become very stiff and atrophy without regular movement, thus actually worsening the condition in the long term. Some of the better exercises include low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or stretching. Please be advised that it is always best to consult with your physician before you begin any type of exercise to manage your pain.
Improved Digestion – A sedentary lifestyle can cause your digestion to become sluggish. If your bowel habits are not regular, try to incorporate some movement into your routine; if you move, so will your bowels. Even if you are regular (yay for that!), exercise will help boost your metabolism (and yay for that too!), and enhance the efficiency of your digestive system’s ability to break down your food.
Better Sex Life! – The more you exercise the more fun you can have in bed. Exercise increases the blood flow to your muscles and tissues (we all know which ones I’m speaking of), resulting in enhanced arousal and orgasm. Since exercise also increases energy level, not only will you have the energy to do it in the first place, you may be able to stay in the game longer. In addition, regular exercise can improve sexual dysfunction, especially erectile dysfunction; forget the Viagra ladies … suggest that your men hit the treadmill instead.
Increased Self-Esteem – With the healthy body image that can be developed with exercise, you are more apt to feel good about yourself, and then strut your stuff in those stilettos. Plus, the sexier you feel in your skin, the more likely you will want to engage in sexual activity.
Improved Brain Function – Believe it or not, exercise can stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and also improve the function of those that already exist. Increasing amounts of research are proving that exercise is effective at delaying cognitive decline and dementia in older adults, and also improves general memory. It has also been touted as one of the best ways to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. If you have already forgotten what this article is about, you may want to go for a walk.
If you want to live a long and healthy life and be vibrant and strong right now, exercise has to be part of the equation. And moderation is always the key – excessive exercise can actually have the exact opposite effect, so don’t overdo it. If any of you have been struggling to make the time or effort to get your body moving, hopefully this article has been just what you needed!
If you know anyone that needs a little extra motivation to get moving, please share this via Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin!
Do you personally exercise for another reason? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!