You might start an exercise habit with a particular goal in mind, such as weight loss, but exercise can have a variety of other benefits for your overall health.
1. Exercise Can Boost Your Mood
Exercise releases feel-good chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin. Some studies show that exercise might be as effective a anti-depressants for mild to moderate depression. As you meet fitness goals, even small ones, it can help to increase your confidence. Some of the other benefits in this list can also in turn improve your mood.
2. Exercise Can Reduce Stress
Exercise can distract you from your worries. It can also help to loosen muscles that have become tense. Exercise that has a social aspect, group classes or exercising with a buddy, can have emotional benefits, plus exercising in the beauty of nature can also have a positive effect on stress.
3. Exercise Can Soothe Anxiety
In addition to the points above, the act of exercise can release tension in the body. Exercise can also reduce stress hormones. Some studies show that exercise can reduce sensitivity to anxiety responses in the body which might lead to fewer panic attacks.
4. Exercise Can Increase Your Energy
A study by the University of Georgia showed that those with a sedentary lifestyle had boosted energy after starting an exercise regimen. Exercise improves blood flow and cardiovascular health, and that may be part of it. Exercise also stimulates the production of mitochondria in cells. Mitochondria produce ATP, a chemical the body uses as energy.
I’ve experienced it myself. When I’m regularly doing my dance fitness, I’ll feel like dancing everywhere I hear music, even the grocery store. I have to say that I’m usually discreet and haven’t created any big scenes like the grocery store scene in the animated film, Sing.
5. Exercise Can Boost Your Creativity
A study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience showed that those who exercise scored higher on a creativity test than sedentary people. The study showed that physical activity seems to positively affect convergent and divergent thinking, used in problem solving.
6. Exercise Helps Prevent Diseases and Health Conditions
Exercise can be helpful in the prevention of a lot of illnesses and conditions. It can help prevent the development of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as colon and breast cancer. Exercise reduces blood sugar, raises healthy HDL cholesterol and lowers unhealthy LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, all of which can prevent disease or the progression of it. It also helps to keep muscles, bones and joints healthy and can lower blood pressure in those who already have high blood pressure.
7. Exercise Can Boost Your Immune System
Exercise flushes bacteria out of the lungs which may prevent colds and flu. It also may prevent the growth of bacteria. It also gives a boost to antibodies and white blood cells.
8. Exercise is Good for Muscles and Bones
Exercise strengthens muscle which then helps your bones to stay strong and prevents osteoporosis.
9. Exercise is Good for Your Skin
Exercise increases blood flow to the skin. According to one study, exercise not only keeps skin looking young, it can also help reverse aging in those who start exercise later in life.
Lately, YouTube has been recommending videos to me on unusually fit senior women involved in different sports or forms of exercise. I’ve noticed these women seem to have youthful skin as well.
10. Exercise is Good for Your Brain
A study by the University of British Columbia showed that those who get regular aerobic exercise increase the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in verbal learning and memory. Other research suggests that exercise can slow down the loss of brain cells through aging.
11. Exercise is Good for Your Lungs
Exercise helps the body deliver oxygen. It can improve lung capacity and endurance and can reduce breathlessness.
12. Exercise Can Increase Your Flexibility
Many different exercises can help your flexibility, and some like Pilates are specifically designed for that. Dancing is also very good for flexibility.
13. Exercise Can Improve Your Balance
I’ve personally tried a variety of exercises over the years, including ballet based workouts and kickboxing. Although one of these seems gentle and graceful and the other aggressive, both involve balancing on one leg. With practice, balance gets easier.
14. Exercise May Help You Be More Productive
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and can help you feel more alert. The exercise benefits to the brain and energy levels, listed elsewhere in this article, also contribute to greater productivity.
15. Exercise Can Help You Get Better Sleep
Exercise benefits your ability to sleep as well. According to the Sleep Foundation, exercise raises your body temperature and the drop in temperature after exercise may help for a better sleep. The mental benefits of exercise may also help you get better sleep.
16. Exercise Helps You Live Longer
If exercise has all of the benefits above, it makes sense that it could also lengthen your life.