We all know that exercise helps toward the goals of keeping your body fit and losing or maintaining weight. But the benefits of exercise go far beyond weight management and physical fitness. Having a regular exercise routine invites unexpected changes that will enhance your life in a variety of ways.
Here are 10 reasons you should start an exercise routine ASAP and stick with it:
1. Strengthen Your Self-Confidence
When you see the subtle or dramatic changes exercise makes to your body, you’re likely to feel better about the way you look than you did before. A long-term study in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology showed that middle-aged women gained improvements in how they perceived their appearance when they exercised. This benefit could give you a boost in overall confidence and self-esteem beyond just the way you look!
2. Tap In to Creativity
If your creative juices are blocked, an aerobic workout can be like turning on the tap to get them flowing again. A study in Creativity Research Journal found that workouts made people more creative right after the aerobic session and even for the next two hours. So, instead of procrastinating or banging your head against the desk, get your body moving to give your mind plenty of inspiration.
3. Succeed at Setting and Achieving Goals
Exercise is a prime area for bringing healthy goals into your life. It works best when you create specific goals that are achievable and healthy. In other words, don’t try to lose too much weight too quickly, and make sure you create small doable goals that lead up to more substantial goals. Instead of having vague or unattainable goals, you’ll be able to meet your goals when you make them realistic and specific. When you meet your goals, you’ll gain a powerful boost in confidence and motivation to keep going. Goals can keep you going with your workouts, and you can extend what you learn into other areas of your life to achieve more overall.
4. Create the Desire to Eat Healthily
When you’re taking care of your body through regular exercise sessions, you start to feel healthier all-around. This feeling and a newfound focus on health can extend to other parts of your lifestyle; in particular your diet. When you eat fatty, greasy, or empty-calorie meals and snacks, you’ll notice that your body doesn’t feel as good, and you probably won’t want to exercise. On the other hand, nutrient-dense and other healthy foods will give you more energy, and add to the great feelings you’re getting from your exercise sessions.
5. Sharpen Your Memory
Even if you’re not having trouble remembering certain things now, memory decline is common to the aging process, and is prominent with dementia. Exercise is one of the activities that can help you counteract the memory decline process, which is an amazing benefit! A British Journal of Sports Medicine study found that aerobic exercise created more volume in the brain’s hippocampus, which is connected to memory, in older women with probable mild cognitive impairment. Keep this mental benefit in mind when you need some motivation to start sweating.
6. Sleep Better at Night
Instead of taking sleeping pills to improve your ability to fall asleep at night, try exercise during the day to create healthier sleep patterns overall. The physical activity helps you achieve better sleep in a variety of ways, including improving your circadian rhythm, decreasing your stress levels, and offering better quality sleep, according to an article for Psychology Today. It works the other way too – better sleep can help you have better workouts.
7. Wake Up Your Body During the Day
On top of sleeping better at night, you’ll gain energy boosts during the day with a regular exercise routine. Fitting a workout into your daytime routine will give you a healthier, more effective lift in energy than that espresso, sugary treat or energy drink, which all give a quick boost and then a crash. If you have the ironic problem of feeling too tired or drained to exercise, take heart that a low-intensity workout such as slowly walking is all you need for an energy lift, according to a study in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics Journal.
8. Become Happier
The benefits of exercise transcends your body and moves to your mental and emotional health. In particular, your workouts can give you a surge of happiness. We’re all in the pursuit of that, right? Exercise boosts the feel-good hormones, endorphins. Plus, it can help counteract mental problems that get in the way of your happiness, such as depression. For instance, a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine came to the significant conclusion that exercise helped major depressive disorder to a similar level as antidepressants.
9. Boost Your Strength and Flexibility
On a physical level, exercise isn’t just about physical fitness, weight maintenance, and stamina. When you incorporate the right exercises, your workout will also strengthen the muscles throughout your body, providing numerous benefits that include making everyday activities easier, supporting improved posture, and burning calories even when you’re not exercising. Exercise can also provide stretching and movement that enhances your flexibility. Better flexibility can cut down on body pain, improve your posture, and increase your range of motion.
10. Increase Your Productivity
Just as exercise can help you be more creative, it can boost your productivity. A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that workers claimed they had much higher rates of productivity when they had mandatory physical exercise. You might find that taking a break to engage in a walk or other exercise session gives you the ability to get more accomplished in your life. So, don’t get down on yourself the next time you feel like you’re getting nothing done. Instead, take a relaxing exercise break, and get back to your to-do list with renewed vigor.