It’s common knowledge that working out and having good cardio fitness can be beneficial to your health. However, too often people see “health” and “weight loss” as interchangeable concepts – and confusing the two can be catastrophic. People may ignore the other benefits of exercise and focus on weight, then get discouraged and quit when they don’t see quick results. In extreme cases, individuals can become obsessed with losing weight to the degree that they develop destructive behaviors, such as over-exercise and disordered eating, which can lead to worse long-term health consequences.
That’s not a reason to skip the gym, however! Just be mindful of all the benefits exercise has to offer. Working out can give you huge benefits that can make your life better in ways you may never have thought possible. Here are just a few rewards you’ll get from working out:
1. Improve Your Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in both your mental and physical health. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, adding exercise to your daily routine can help. An improved level of cardio fitness can help you fall asleep faster, which allows you to get more rest and feel more refreshed in the morning.
2. Reduce Your Risk of Injury
Working out can lower your chances of getting hurt. If your body is fit, you can be much less likely to injure yourself while doing day-to-day tasks. For example, if you regularly work your back and legs with deadlifts, you’re less likely to tweak a muscle lifting heavy groceries into your car.
This is critical for individuals who are 65+ years old. This age group is the most susceptible to injuries caused by falls. One way to reduce the risk of these accidents is with exercise – the stronger your bones and muscles, the better your chances of catching yourself before you fall or minimizing the damage if you do.
3. Reduce Your Risk of Health Issues
The risk of serious health issues only increases with age. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your risk. Getting regular, adequate exercise decreases your likelihood of getting:
Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet that completely eliminates your chance of getting one of these conditions. But when you look at the possible benefit of exercise, versus the possible cost of not exercising, the choice is clear.
4. Alleviate Anxiety and Depression
Working out can be a good way to ease anxiety. Short-term, exercise can help you burn off some steam and get your mind off your problems, while giving you a healthier outlet for your stress.
Exercise can also help reduce depression. Studies have shown that major depressive disorder responds to exercise: individuals with depression who got regular exercise felt better and were less likely to relapse into depressive episodes than those who were sedentary.
Bonus: go for a jog outside on a clear day, or find an yoga session in the part, and the sunlight can help you brain make extra mood-boosting compounds! Just be sure to wear sunscreen.
5. Strengthen Your Immune System
While vitamin supplements and immune boosters can be great for strengthening your immune system, daily exercise can be just as effective if not more so. Regular exercise and cardio fitness can help improve your immune system, so your body can better fight off illness and keep you from getting sick as often.
6. Boost Your Energy
Don’t be afraid to exercise because you think it’ll make you too tired! Sure, you might feel a little worn out after a hard session at the gym, but overall, working out will give you more energy, not less!
Exercise boosts your metabolism and improves your body’s ability to utilize nutrients. It can also allow your digestive system to function better. All these benefits result of higher energy levels for you. Working out can reduce fatigue and have an even more stimulating effect than a large cup of coffee (although I personally am going to keep my coffee and exercise, thankyouverymuch).
7. Sharpen Your Coordination
Being aware of your body can help you avoid coordination problems such as bumping into things or tripping (again, see #2 for why this is so important!). Stubbed toes and bruised shins aren’t life-changing injuries, but they’re no fun, either (and neither is running into a door in front of your coworkers. Trust me on this one).
8. Improve Your Mobility
Stiffness and the lack of ability to move your body through its full range of motion can be a burden that makes even the simplest of tasks difficult and painful. Luckily, exercise and cardio fitness can improve your flexibility which in turn can increase the range of motion in your body. When it comes to stiffness, working out can be both preventative and restorative.
You can improve your overall health and wellness simply by dedicating a few hours a week to physical activity. Achieving these amazing benefits from working out can be a great way to improve your life – and you’ll never even set foot on a scale! The best part is, there’s no one right way to exercise. You can find something that’s right for you, whether that’s martial arts, team sports, running, yoga, weight lifting…the possibilities are endless!