“As time goes on, paper after paper after paper shows that the most effective, potent way that we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise.” ~ Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky
It’s simple: there is nothing that is better for human health than exercise. No medication. No ‘hack.’ Nothing. Exercise works – and it works incredibly well.
And the benefits of exercise are both numerous and wide-ranging; improving the function of every organ, muscle, and system within the body.
Here are ten reasons to exercise daily, according to science:
1. It makes you happier.
Everyone wants to be happy. And everyone who exercises knows that it makes them happier.
Exercise causes the release of our body’s natural opioid: endorphins. The process of regular exercise also balances brain chemicals, which helps regulate stress and anxiety and relieve depressive symptoms.
2. It helps you live longer.
A healthy lifestyle has been linked to a longer lifespan for centuries. Oppositely, a sedentary lifestyle is linked to obesity, disease, and an early death.
How much does exercise help in this regard? Well, according to a meta-analysis of studies conducted by Psychology Today, regular exercise has the same effect on life duration as quitting smoking.
3. It boosts your energy levels
Exercise is a real energy booster, especially for those suffering from fatigue-related conditions, i.e., “chronic fatigue.” Even a moderate amount of exercise (20-30 minutes a day) is enough to reap some of the advantages.
The workplace is perhaps the best opportunity to take advantage of these energy-boosting effects. Go for a 10-15 minute walk during your break. Park far away from the building and walk. Take the stairs!
4. It reduces the risk of chronic disease
Regular exercise is related to enhanced insulin sensitivity, body composition (muscle/weight ration) and cardiovascular fitness. Exercise also lowers blood pressure and fat composition levels.
Lack of exercise, meanwhile, often leads to significant increases in abdominal fat; increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even premature death.
5. It puts you to sleep
Have sleep problems? Get to the gym.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) states that regular exercise improves the quality of sleep. To achieve these benefits for your sleep quality, make sure to exercise either in the morning or afternoon. Working out too late into the evening revs up your nervous and motor systems, which may make it difficult to fall asleep.
6. It’ll boost your self-esteem
Regular exercise helps improve your appearance, which may help to explain some of its confidence-boosting effects. As a bonus, exercise gives you a nice feeling of accomplishment – especially when turned into a can’t-miss habit.
“Self-esteem,” “self-confidence,” whatever you want to call it – exercise helps give it a boost.
7. It’s a stress-killer
As mentioned, exercise stimulates the release of endorphins – our body’s natural “feel-good” chemical. Endorphins are also known for their stress-busting properties. Exercise forces your brain to focus on the task at hand. This makes for a potent one-two punch against stress buildup. (Bonus: exercise is also a great stress preventer.)
8. It enhances cognitive function
Exercise gets your heart pumping which, in turn, feeds your brain a steady flow of blood and oxygen. Studies demonstrate that regular exercise combats oxidative stress and inflammation of the brain, as well. Lastly, neuroscientists found that exercise increases the density of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s vital for learning and memory.
9. It reduces pain
Studies show that physical activity has “favorable effects on the pain that’s associated with various conditions.” These conditions include bone and joint pain, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, and shoulder pain, to name just a few. Additionally, exercise is shown to increase pain threshold and decrease pain perception.
10. It may improve your sex life
Keeping a regular exercise routine promotes a robust cardiovascular system, improves blood circulation, tones muscles, and enhances flexibility.
As mentioned, routine exercise also increases your self-worth. Together, these factors may help explain why working out often contributes to a better sex life.
All of the evidence points to one thing: exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. (This isn’t an all-inclusive list, by the way.)
So, why don’t more people exercise? Well…
People come up with all types of excuses – and all of them are lame. “I don’t have enough time” is perhaps the most widespread (and lamest) excuse around. Everyone must watch the clock, but even some of the most hard-pressed for time find a way to fit in a quick workout.
The solution is very simple:
– Find something fun to do that also breaks a sweat (basketball, tennis, weights, etc.)
– Do it every day for 30 minutes – every day – for a month.
– If you finish this 30-day routine, the resistance you once felt will disappear, and you’ll feel much better about yourself!