Last night, my husband called me from his business trip. He told me that he had gone to the gym at his hotel and worked out the morning before his meetings. Then he announced with surprise that he was in a better mood and had more energy than the previous days he had not exercised. After I finished banging my head on the desk (since I had been urging him to exercise for several months for those exact reasons), it dawned on me that we all know that exercise is good for us, but many people do not realize exactly why.
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Sure, exercise can help us burn calories and sculpt our bodies, but there are so many more reasons why everyone should be exercising regularly. So if you need another motivation to get moving, here are 7 of them:
1. Promotes work-life balance
In theory, trying to find time to fit exercise into your already busy day should make you feel even more stressed out, and yet the opposite is true. Getting regular exercise actually helps people to feel like they have a better work-life balance. People who find time to exercise regularly say they are more confident in their ability to handle the balance between work and home life, and they report having less stress at work.
2. Increases energy
Even though it might seem that exercise would zap you of all your energy, the truth is that a regular exercise routine can give you more energy throughout the day. Exercise stimulates the mitochondria cell components in your body, which produce the chemical that creates energy. And it is not only physical energy, but exercise can increase your mental energy as well.
3. Helps you heal faster
Certain exercises can be beneficial for healing tendonitis, muscle tears, and even bone fractures. It might be hard to believe, but aerobic exercise may even help restore normal cognitive function in people who have suffered from a concussion. Be sure to talk with your doctor or therapist before starting any post-injury fitness to make certain that you are doing the most helpful exercises and using proper form.
4. Fights disease
We have been told many times that a healthy diet is important for preventing cancer. More fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains with less saturated fats and fewer sugars should be helpful in building up our immune function. Research now shows that exercise can also help aid in cancer prevention by changing the body's immune system.
5. Helps you sleep
If you suffer from insomnia, you might want to consider getting more morning exercise. (This one I can tell you from personal experience is true). Plus, more vigorous exercisers are almost twice as likely as non-exercisers to consistently have a good night's rest, and they are the least likely group to have sleep problems.
6. Boosts immunity
Lots of people avoid the gym during cold and flu season for fear of picking up those nasty germs. While you might still want to avoid that treadmill that sneezy, wheezy guy just walked away from, do not abandon your workout entirely or you could end up sick anyway. According to the National Institutes of Health, moderate regular exercise can help your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections.
7. Boosts your mood
... well, that is, unless you are absolutely determined to be a grump. In that case, you are on your own. One study out of the University of Vermont found that your mood can be improved for to 12 hours post exercise. So if you want to have a happy day, consider hitting the gym. Exercise has been shown to improve the mood of pregnant women, who report significant improvements in their mood after taking up a regular exercise program. People who suffer from depression can also see improvement with regular exercise.
-By Jessica Cohen
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