We talk about the link between weight loss and exercise A LOT. But there are actually plenty of great reasons to get active that have absolutely nothing to do with the scales. So if motivational quotes about summer’s impending arrival just aren’t doing it for you, here are seven other reasons you should keep exercise at the top of your to-do list.
#1 It lifts your mood
Day-to-day life can be stressful, but going for a run, playing sport or hitting the gym is a sure-fire way to relieve some of that tension. Exercise releases endorphins (also known as the ‘happy hormone’), boosting your mood and norepinephrine levels, a chemical which can help the brain to deal with stress more efficiently.
#2 It helps you sleep
Besides the fact that working your body more will wear it out, exercising also raises your body temperature. And as it drops back down to normal a few hours post-workout, that signals to the body that it’s time to sleep.
#3 It enhances creativity
Ever been running and suddenly thought of an awesome invention or a solution to a problem that’s been bugging you for days? That’s because exercise gets the creative side of the brain firing, both during your sweat session and up to two hours after.
#4 It improves your skin
Getting your heart rate up enhances the blood flow to your skin, so if you’re after a glowing complexion, get moving! Literally. Exercise can also help with acne by controlling the production of pimple-inducing hormones. Plus, sweating can help to unclog your pores – so try not to wear make-up while you’re working out.
#5 It strengthens your immunity
If you catch every single cold that goes around the office, you may need to revamp your exercise routine. According to Reader’s Digest, heading out for a brisk, 40-minute walk four days a week can cut the number of colds you experience by 25-50 per cent. This is because regular activity promotes protective cells in the body.
#6 It eases period pain
I know it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing, but going for a walk instead of curling up on the couch can actually help to ease your cramps. Remember those happy hormones called endorphins? Well, they also happen to work as a natural pain reliever. Some people find exercise works well for back and joint pain, as well as mild headaches.
#7 It upgrades your sex life
“Since exercise can improve health, vitality, appearance and self-esteem, it does indeed tend to increase interest in – and capacity for – sexual activity,” says David Katz, MD, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. And don’t think you have to set aside an entire hour to reap the benefits – The Harvard School of Public Health found that just 20 minutes of regular exercise a day can improve sexual response in women.
Anyone else feel the urge to lace up those runners?
Do you exercise most days? What benefits have you noticed?