It can be easy to stress out about working out in order to feel confident in a bikini or skinny jeans — but there are many more reasons to exercise that have nothing to do with your waistline. A regular workout routine is essential for feeling your best and living a long, high-quality life; here are a few reminders of why exercise should be a part of your day, whether or not you're trying to drop pounds.
- More energy: No, that three-mile run isn't going to wear you out. On the contrary, research has shown that the more you exercise, the more energy you have. So if you find yourself feeling sluggish all day or can't keep your eyes open when the afternoon hits, try adding a few exercises to your routine.
- Disease prevention: Exercise is a cornerstone of any healthy lifestyle, and it can help prevent a wide variety of diseases and illnesses. Not only does regular exercise help strengthen your heart, but it can also alter the type of bacteria in your gut, which may be beneficial in helping reduce inflammatory and other diseases (in addition to helping with weight management). Add to that the fact that exercise sheds disease-causing internal fat, and it's clear that a regular workout routine can keep you on the healthy track.
- Mood boost: Stressed, annoyed, angry? Go exercise. The endorphins released when you exercise can help put you in a better mood, which can lead to all sorts of happier living moments, from socializing to a better love life.
- Better sleep: Even though exercising can rev you up, it's the perfect remedy for too many restless or sleepless nights, since it'll help you burn any excess energy you have during the day.
- Increased pain tolerance: A study found that regular cardio three times a week significantly increased participants' tolerance to pain. For anyone who's been knocked down by post-workout muscle soreness, it may seem surprising that exercise can help you feel less pain in the long run, but researchers think regular exercise could be a possible prescription for people who live with chronic pain.
- Better brain function: Problem-solving, crafting the perfect email, or nailing a presentation can be easier if you've exercised beforehand. The endorphins that pep you up also help clear your mind, so you can think better and smarter.