We all know that exercise is good for us. But do you know just how good? Apart from the physical advantages, exercise provides a myriad of benefits for your body and mind.
Exercise combats health conditions and disease
Regular physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. You don’t have to participate in triathlons to reap the benefits of exercise either. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a brisk 30-minute five days a week is all that is needed to help thwart disease.
Stuck in a slump? Try going for a quick walk. Physical activity can immediately improve your mood by encouraging the release of various brain chemicals that promote happiness and relaxation. Exercise also has the ability to boost self-esteem, even before physical changes are noticed in the body. Want even more of a pick me up? Studies have shown that exercising outside has an even greater effect in increasing self-confidence than indoor workouts.
As you continue to exercise, your muscles will grow stronger and you will increase your endurance. This, in turn, will help your cardiovascular system to work more efficiently, leading to more energy. Next time you’re feeling lethargic, skip the energy drink and take a power walk. You’ll be amazed at how much more alert you feel.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Feeling anxious? Regular physical activity can reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, and help fight depression. Exercise simultaneously reduces the levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol in the body while increasing the level of endorphins, leaving exercisers feeling calm, relaxed, and cheerful. Even better: This post-work-out cheer can last for up to 12 hours!
Boost Brain Power
Studies show that physical activity can boost your brain power, no matter what your age. Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that young adults who exercise regularly maintain and protect their memory capacity into middle age. A second study found that active middle-agers were better protected from dementia in older age.
Motivate your friends!
According to a study conducted at Michigan State University, people tend to perform better on physical and aerobic exercises when working with a partner. The reasons behind this aren’t entirely clear, but one explanation is that we try to emulate those around us — if we’re working out with a super fit pal, we’re more likely to push ourselves to reach their level. So gather up your (fit) friends and get moving!