9 benefits of exercise (it isn’t just for weight loss)

We all know exercise is crucial for weight loss, but numerous other health benefits come from moving our bodies. It’s important to understand why exercise is so good for us, in order to stay motivated when we’d rather take a seat on the couch and watch a movie. Even after you reach your goal weight, regular exercise is important for staying healthy and preventing disease. Take a look at some of the biggest benefits of exercise outside the realm of weight loss.

Physical benefits of exercise

Increased energy

One of the most compelling exercise benefits is that it actually increases energy. This may sound strange, given that we expend energy when we exercise. But, think about it — the days when you do nothing but sit around reading a book or binge watching your favorite series on Netflix are the days you don’t want to get up and do anything else. The more you sit around, the less energy you have.

Now consider the days you go for a brisk walk in the park, or the mornings you do an entire hour of yoga. It’s those days you feel more energetic, more alert, and more productive. While it may seem counterintuitive, being active gives you more energy throughout the day. So, the next time you’re feeling tired, go for a walk or do twenty minutes of yoga. Dance around to your favorite music — whatever gets you moving. You won’t need that extra cuppa joe!

Better sleep

One of the absolute best benefits of exercise is better sleep. A truly juicy night of rest does so much for the body and mind. Sleep deprivation leads to numerous health issues. But getting good sleep every night helps improve your health and your weight. You won’t get good sleep every night unless you move your body every day.

Immune boost and glowing skin

Your immune system gets a boost every time you exercise. So does your skin. If you want to avoid being sick all winter, make sure you move your body. If you want beautiful, glowing skin, try a hot yoga class. Do whatever you need to sweat out those toxins and bolster immunity. This will leave you looking and feeling good!

Better sex

One of the most surprising benefits of exercise is that it influences your sex life. That’s right! Regular exercise makes for better sex. This is because exercise releases endorphins, which make us feel good and boost the libido. What’s more, those of us who move our bodies are more in touch with our bodies. We typically have a more positive body image than our sedentary counterparts. It’s a lot easier to feel sexy the more often you get in touch with your body. Working up a sweat in the gym increases your chances of working up a sweat in the bedroom!

Spinal health

The ancient yogis believed a long, healthy life was dependent upon a long, healthy spine. Exercise promotes good posture and a healthy spine. Sitting for hours behind a desk does the opposite. So, it’s important to get up, stand tall, and work your back and all the muscles that support your spine. Yoga is particularly beneficial for spinal health. Not only will you prevent the chronic back pain that goes with sitting for too long, you’ll also look great with such lovely posture!

Improved heart health

Your heart health relies upon regular exercise. Just like the building of core muscles through planks and sit ups, we build our heart muscle (the largest muscle in the body) through cardio exercise. And because heart disease is the most common chronic disease in the West, and also its most fatal, regular exercise is key.

Disease prevention

We all want to avoid the major chronic diseases that plague modern day society. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity — your risk of degenerative diseases decreases significantly when you commit to a regular workout routine. Preventing fatal disease processes is yet another amazing benefit of exercise.

Psychological benefits of exercise

The psychological benefits of exercise are every bit as important as the physical ones.

Improved mental health

Exercise is probably the most reliable antidepressant there is. The feel-good chemicals and hormones in our bodies get a healthy boost when we exercise. We feel much brighter, optimistic, and inspired after a good workout.

Even a ten-minute cardio routine can increase mood significantly. Whenever you feel down and out, recruit a good friend for a brisk walk and good conversation. Track your mood and notice how your outlook changes, for the better.

Improved memory and concentration

Physical activity promotes the growth of new blood vessels in the brain. This leads to improved concentration and focus, as well as better memory. Your cognitive faculties need physical activity to remain healthy. Your brain actually grows when you exercise. How’s that for motivation?

Can sitting cancel out the benefits of exercise?

It’s hard to say whether sitting actually cancels out exercise. What we do know is this: if we want to reap all the above benefits of exercise, we need to limit our time sitting. If we spend only 20 minutes a day working out, and then sit around the rest of the day, we’re not creating the best environment for our body and mind to take in all the physical and psychological benefits of exercise.

So, make sure you’re mixing things up. Take a walk around your home or office every 30 minutes. Supplement your exercise routine with morning and evening walks. Stretch your body and do yoga postures while watching your favorite show at night. Move your body as you imagine your distant ancestors did.

Need help meeting your health and weight-loss goals? SmartFit offers personalized weight-loss plans to help you look and feel your best. Contact us today for a free consultation!

 

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