8 Surprising, Non-Physical Benefits of Regular Exercise
Everybody knows that exercise does a body good, but are you aware of all the non-physical benefits of exercise? Yes, exercise is great for your body, your look, your level of fitness (and you should keep on doing it for those reasons as well!), but there are some other, next level, benefits to exercise that you’re getting too! Yes, exercise has benefits beyond the mere physical.
8 Non-Physical Benefits of Exercise
1. More Confidence
It may seem obvious, but exercise makes you feel good, and when you feel good, you look good. Many folks approach this from the wrong direction: They say they will feel good once they look good. However, it’s actually the process of getting into a state of looking good (through exercise) that can have you feeling great about yourself.
If you’re sedentary a majority of the time, chances are good you may not feel optimal. Inactivity breeds all kinds of negative things like sleepiness, poor posture and slouching, the habit of snacking all day or mindless eating, a general feeling of malaise… The list goes on.
When you snap yourself out of that sedentary lifestyle and get yourself moving, you will automatically feel better about yourself. You’ll start to feel more in control of your life and your body and your ability to adhere to a workout regimen will give you an inner feeling of strength. Not to mention, people who work out just carry themselves differently. Regular exercise will allow you to carry yourself with pride and project an air of confidence.
2. Boost Mood
Exercise can even help alleviate depression and boost your mood! It’s a well-known fact that exercise releases the feel-good hormones (i.e., endorphins). These happy hormones produce a kind of “natural high” that can have you feeling good long after your workout is finished.
3. Release Stress
Exercise can also help you work off stress. Those same endorphins that help you boost your mood and double as painkillers will also help you when it comes to relieving stress. Because exercise helps you get better, more restful sleep (in part, due to the release of endorphins), it improves your ability to think through problems (some tout it as a form of meditation) and helps your body release tension.
As an added benefit, exercise invigorates your immune system, allowing you to protect yourself from the harmful effects of stress before they get out of hand.
4. More Energy
You’ve probably heard of exercise described as “getting your blood moving,” and that’s actually, in part, why exercise is so effective when it comes to boosting your energy levels. With your blood being the lifeforce that flows through your veins, it makes sense that getting up and moving would get your blood flowing more efficiently throughout your body. That means more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to all areas of your physique.
In fact, exercise does a lot more than just ramp up your blood flow. It also helps you to process and use blood sugar, it helps to regulate your cholesterol levels, and it allows your body to move, thus producing energy.
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5. Look More Youthful
Yes, exercise truly may be the fountain of youth! Because exercise improves so many things across the board, like metabolism, posture, body composition, circulation, endurance, and health markers, it’s reasonable to conclude that you’ll also look and act more youthful than you would without exercise.
6. Get Better Sleep
You may wear yourself out at the gym and thus get great sleep, but there’s actually more to why exercise causes you to get better sleep. Exercise raises your body temperature while you’re exercising because you’re using/burning excess calories to power through your workout. Once you stop stoking that fire and your body cools down, returning to normal temperatures, it can cause you to start feeling drowsy.
Exercise also helps you work through and work off stress, anxiety, and even depression; all things that can interrupt a good night’s sleep or prevent you from falling asleep in the first place.
7. More Brain Power
Exercise helps improve critical thinking as well as memory. Scientists say that the regions of the brain that control your thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) are larger in those who engage in a regular exercise program than those who don’t.
8. Better Sex Life
Just think about it … if exercise gives you more energy, a heightened sense of confidence, and better self-esteem, it probably goes without saying that even your sex life can benefit from regular exercise.
Just as exercise helps reduce tension, stress, and cortisol, the endorphins released through exercise also boost the release of sex hormones. Regular exercise has even been called the “natural Viagra.” Studies show that both men and women report greater arousal and more sexual satisfaction when they participate in a regular exercise program. So, go ahead, put the “s” in your “exercise” program!