Whether we do it as often as we should or not, we all know that regular exercise is second only to a healthy, well-balanced diet when it comes to achieving and maintaining good health. Below, we look at a few of the top benefits of regular exercise, including some that go beyond the obvious physical fitness side of things. One of the best things about regular exercise is that its benefits are available to all of us, regardless of gender, age, or current health status.
The physical benefits
In a time when so many of us are overweight, one of the main benefits of regular exercise remains weight management. When combined with a healthy diet, exercise is the best way to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight.
If you have been diagnosed with diseases or conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, regular exercise can be one of the keys to managing your condition. Those with joint and muscle issues can also benefit from regular exercise. Regular exercise, especially cardiovascular exercises (like walking or swimming), can be great at improving circulation, which helps manage a number of different conditions. Of course, never engage in any exercise regimen that your doctor has advised you to avoid.
Regular exercise can definitely increase your energy levels, which can make it easier to get through a long, busy day. Also, as long as you don’t exercise too soon before going to bed, you are very likely to find that you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly if you exercise regularly.
The psychological benefits
Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and may even help fight depression. A little brisk cardio releases chemicals and hormones that have been proven to boost your mood and energy levels.
Engaging in regular exercise is good for you. Knowing that you’re doing something good for your health can make you feel better about yourself. Additionally, once you start seeing the benefits of your hard work, you might even see your self confidence begin to grow. Also, as friends, family members, and coworkers see the change in you, they might be inspired to follow your lead, something else you can feel great about!
If your lack of energy and lowered self esteem resulting from “letting yourself go” have had a negative impact on your sex life, re-igniting that spark can be another benefit of regular exercise. If you’re single and looking, increased self confidence in addition to looking your best can also make you more likely to be noticed by others, giving you a better chance of meeting someone new.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for more adult conversation or a busy professional looking to extend your personal or business network, exercising in a gym or other group setting (or even connecting with like-minded exercisers through an online group) can be a great way to make new friends. If you share exercise as a common interest, you’re also more likely to help each other stay motivated.
To achieve the most benefits possible, try to include both cardiovascular exercise (like walking, jogging, dancing, or swimming) and weight training exercises. You should aim for at least two hours of moderately-intense or at least one hour of vigorous exercise per week. Again, if you have any underlying health conditions, make sure you follow your doctor’s advice on recommended exercises or regimens.