If you need an extra boost of exercise motivation, check out the benefits of exercise and see these 15 reasons to workout today.
So many people view exercise as a punishment for poor eating choices, but in reality, it’s one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself – physically and emotionally.
There is a long list of the benefits of exercise, which means there are tons of reasons to workout today (even if you don’t feel like it).
It completely changes the way your body functions, making it work more efficiently, which makes you a happier, healthier human!
Check out 15 of the benefits below.
1. Feel More Energetic
Are you tired of feeling tired?
It’s almost counter-intuitive to think that exercise gives us more energy.
When you workout, you’re using up your energy, right?
Yes and no.
Do you use energy to workout? Absolutely!
But exercise also has this magical way of teaching your body to run more efficiently.
When you exercise, your blood circulates better, which allows more oxygen to reach your brain and muscles, which helps you to feel more awake, alert, and energetic.
You’ll also have more stamina and better endurance, whether you are running a 5k or after a toddler.
2. Build Your Confidence
Losing 100 pounds was awesome, but my self-esteem didn’t change overnight.
Growing up, the idea of exercise alone made me think, I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough. I’m not fast enough. Those other people must be wired differently.
But then I actually did it.
And it was exercise that built my confidence – running, cardio kickboxing classes, 5k races, and HIIT workouts.
There is no denying that exercise is hard, but you can do hard things.
And you prove that to yourself as you grow stronger, you go farther, and you beat your previous records.
When you accomplish more than you ever thought was possible, you improve your body image, build confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth (and it feels pretty darn amazing!).
It even improves your posture, so you are both literally and figuratively standing taller!
And your confidence will inspire others to want to exercise, too.
3. Get A Better Night of Sleep
Have trouble falling asleep at night? Or staying asleep at night?
Exercise can help.
Our bodies were made to work, but these days, most jobs involve sitting at a desk for 8 hours or more.
Exercise helps encourage your body’s natural work-rest cycle.
Exercise during the day and your body will reward you with more restful sleep at night.
This isn’t necessarily a benefit you will feel overnight. It seems to be more of a cumulative benefit, taking a few weeks or possibly longer before you feels its effects…but they will come!
The more regularly you exercise, the more often you will sleep more soundly, even if you have insomnia or sleep apnea!
4. Build Strong Bones
Your bone is living tissue and those activities cause more bone tissue to grow, making them stronger.
That is incredibly important, especially as you get older (more on that in a second).
Exercise can decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Those stronger bones can help prevent fractures.
5. Help You Age More Gracefully
As I just mentioned, exercise is so helpful in making aging a less painful process.
When you exercise, you not only strengthen your bones, but you also increase your muscle tone, coordination, balance, joint function, and flexibility, which is incredibly important for preventing falls as you get older.
Exercise keeps you mentally sharp (keep reading for more on this one), lowers your risk of dementia, and helps treat conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
Exercise can help you live longer, too!
And you don’t have to join high-intensity CrossFit to experience these benefits. No matter what activity level you are, you can find appropriate activities, even if it is lower impact activities like water aerobics or tai chi.
6. Improve Your Brain Health
Do you have a terrible memory?
Do you struggle to focus on tasks?
Exercise can help!
Studies have actually found that the parts of your brain that control thinking and memory grow as you exercise.
Working out literally gives you bigger brains!
Any aerobic exercise (walking included!) can get your brain going and growing, even helping you to think more creatively.
Your memory will improve, you will be able to concentrate better, learn faster, and you will be more productive!
Because of all of those things and more, exercise actually helps you change your neural pathways, which means all of those bad habits you feel like you’ll never be able to stop?
Exercise can help you change those old patterns and build new, healthier habits.
7. Strengthen Your Muscles
When you exercise, your obviously muscles get stronger, but that’s just the obvious point here.
Because of those stronger muscles, your daily tasks will be much easier (think of things like carrying groceries, pouring dog food from that huge bag, or vacuuming the stairs).
You will be able to do more and it will feel less difficult.
Strengthening your muscles, from your core to your legs, is also one of the best ways to prevent injuries.
You know how easy it is to bend the wrong way and tweak your back doing the simplest activities? A stronger core can prevent lower back pain and other injuries.
Check out this 30-day plank challenge for beginners to work on strengthening your core!
8. Feel Happier
Endorphins are one of your body’s responses to stress. When exercise is the stress on your body (the best kind of stress!), endorphins are released and leave you feeling more at ease and happier.
People who exercise feel greater excitement and enthusiasm, too!
Exercising lowers your risk of depression, lifts your mood, boosts your mental health, and alleviates anxiety.
Just a simple 10-minute walk could go a long way in giving you a brighter day.
9. Boost Your Immune System
Chronic inflammation wreaks havoc on our bodies and most of us have more inflammation than we’d like due to our poor diets or chronic illness.
Guess what fights inflammation?
That’s right. Exercise. A 20-minute workout can produce an anti-inflammatory, cellular response.
Exercise can help you to be sick less often, prevent strokes, reduce your risk of disease, improve your heart health, prevent colds, lower cholesterol, lower your risk of certain cancers, lower your blood pressure, and lower your risk of diabetes.
10. Reduce Your Pain
Those endorphins we talked about earlier? They actually dampen the discomfort of pain during and after your workout.
And exercise can actually increase your pain tolerance. That’s great news, especially for people dealing with chronic pain.
11. Improve Your Skin
Looking to give your skin that healthy glow?
They are not entirely sure why this happens, but they know that exercise changes your skin composition, giving you younger-looking skin.
Because exercise increases your blood flow and decreases stress, you can minimize the effects of skin conditions like acne and eczema.
Your workouts can even help skin repair itself more quickly, speeding up wound healing.
12. Help You Lose Weight
I put this one far down on the list because exercise is NOT the fastest way to lose weight (diet changes are far more important), but it does help.
Exercise (especially strength training) can boost your metabolism, which is great for burning extra calories, even in your off time.
Strength training or HIIT workouts are also some of the best ways to break through a weight loss plateau.
In my own 100-pound weight loss journey, exercise spurred on a lot of other healthy choices.
When I exercised, I drank more water and felt so good about myself that I wanted to make healthier food choices. I felt more confident so I did even more active things with friends and it started a ripple effect of all kinds of healthy choices.
13. Save Money
Seriously. By taking care of your body, preventing diseases, reducing your pain, and losing weight, your healthcare costs will be much lower, saving you lots of money over the years.
14. Strengthen Relationships
When you exercise with people, you bond with them. I’m sure you’ve seen it happen in CrossFit gyms, Stroller Strides mom groups, and running groups.
I remember joining a running group to train for my first half marathon and on our first run together, I instantly clicked with a few other ladies. You can have some really good, long conversations on a 10-mile run!
You can become even closer to your friends when you become a workout buddy – go to a cardio kickboxing class together or meet in the mornings to do a Faithful Fitness workout video (try the free 5-day Faith + Fitness Jumpstart Challenge!).
Exercising is a great way to connect with your spouse and your kids, too. Go on a Saturday morning run or an evening family bike ride. Everyone will be in a better mood with those endorphins and you’ll have great conversations along the way.
15. Alone Time
I know I just talked about exercise being a great way to connect with people, but if you are an introvert like me, you probably cherish your alone time, too.
Exercise is such a great way to get that, too!
Whether you drop your kids off at the gym daycare while you lift weights or you just leave the house for awhile to go on a walk or run, working out is a great way to process your thoughts and come home refreshed.