For many people, exercise is right up there with doing taxes and getting a root canal on a list of least favorite activities. But if you hate exercise, it's probably because you're doing it wrong. Working out doesn't mean a painful aerobics class, and it certainly doesn't mean being screamed at by a mean-spirited trainer. Instead, the key to getting over your procrastination and getting fit is to keep trying different activities until you find something you love. If you're in need of a little extra motivation, though, consider these five amazing benefits of regular exercise. Working out does so much more than help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Better Mental Health
Research has repeatedly shown that regular aerobic exercise can reduce your risk of depression and anxiety. Exercise also helps you sleep, which makes it easier to remain mentally sharp. Some research suggests that regular exercise can even make you smarter. A handful of studies have also found that, beyond just preventing depression, exercise may actually help to treat it. These studies found that exercise could be even more effective than popular antidepressants.
Exercise can also help give you a temporary energy boost, and help you break out of bad moods. The endorphins your body releases in response to exercise can give you a shot of energy, a boost of confidence, and an overriding feeling of well-being.
Healthier Muscles and Bones
Exercise challenges your muscles and bones, and over time, this challenge can strengthen them. People who regularly lift weights – including those who do bodyweight exercises – have a reduced risk of muscle and bone diseases, including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Reduced Risk of Cancer
The Centers for Disease Control reports that regular exercise yields a reduced lifetime risk of cancer. Exercise has been shown in various studies to reduce the risk of breast, colon, endometrial, and lung cancers. Additionally, people who already have cancer report reduced pain and a higher quality of life when they continue exercising. Scientists aren't yet sure why this happens, but it may be that exercise boosts immunity or slows the growth of cancer-causing cells.
A Longer Life
People who are physically active – including activities such as walking around the mall or playing with their kids – for seven or more hours per week have a 40% lower chance of dying early than people who do not remain physically active. People who do at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or jumping rope, each week have the lowest risk of premature death.
One of the most popular misconceptions about exercise is that it has to hurt. To the contrary, healthy exercise should never hurt. Instead, regular exercise can reduce your risk of chronic pain, alleviate headaches, and help you stop muscle tension before it starts.
CATEGORIES: Health, Exercises