Look, we all know that exercise can help you lose weight. We know it can build muscle. We know you get stronger, leaner, more toned . . . but did you know that exercise can clear your skin? Prevent osteoporosis? Improve your sex life?
Adding consistent workouts (of any kind!) into your daily routine can truly revolutionize your life. Here are some of the incredible, life-extending benefits you'll reap from physical fitness.
Grow your brain: Exercise stimulates neural and mental development, even in aging brains. Studies show increased gray matter and sharpened motor skills after learning a new workout, as training your body can simultaneously train your mind.
- Sharpen memory: That same study — the one with the gray matter — reported on hippocampal neurogenesis, meaning the memory center of your brain (hippocampus) is making new cells and thus improved. Having trouble remembering a few things? Hit the gym!
- Treat depression: Exercise, combined with meditation, has proven to be an effective treatment for depression, with similar results to antidepressants. New neural cell growth stimulated by exercise counteracts the suppression of said growth brought on by depression.
- Boost your mood: The endorphins released from exercise will give you a surge of energy and a healthy mood-boost. You'll be feeling all the happy feels in no time.
- Sleep better: Working out at the end of the day can send you into a sound slumber. Research has found that if you're struggling with insomnia and restlessness, exercise could be the cure.
- Have more energy: In addition to reaping the benefits of better, more-restful sleep, studies show that exercise itself can boost energy and fight fatigue.
- Have a healthy outlet for stress: For many people, pounding the pavement for a run, jumping in the pool and going for a swim, or hitting the studio and taking a dance class is a natural release for general stress. It can even take the place of destructive emotional stress-eating.
- Have better sex: Speaking of stress relief . . . the mood boost and de-stressing from exercise will improve your drive, and your increased strength will improve stamina.
- Strengthen your heart: Your cardiovascular system will reap the benefits of routine fitness. You'll have a lowered, healthier blood pressure, better blood flow (so, healthier cells!), and a more regulated temperature. You'll also be better able to flush toxins out of the body thanks to increased circulation.
- Lower cholesterol: One of the benefits of weight management and a stronger heart is lowered cholesterol, meaning less chance of heart attack.
- Get better skin: The increased blood flow from your healthy heart will help "flush cellular debris" and can even clear up acne and eczema. The relieved stress should help give your visage a nice glow, too.
- Boost your immune system: Studies have shown that moderate exercise improves immune function; just make sure to take your rest days, because too much intense exercise can actually be detrimental to your health.
- Live longer: The fountain of youth? It's exercise, of course! A study showed an association between weight lifting and living longer.
- Keep your bones strong: By exercising consistently, you'll maintain solid bone density, which can prevent osteoporosis.
- Feel less pain: A 2014 study showed that aerobic training increased pain tolerance. More gainz, less painz.