Working out inarguably helps us shed some unwanted pounds. Usually, it takes much diligence and discipline to work up the motivation to hit the gym frequently. But, we all know how great working out is for our waistlines.
Did you know that exercise boasts other great benefits in addition to cutting calories? It’s true. Exercise has many other health benefits other than weight loss.
Other than promoting cardiovascular health, improving muscle tone and strength, working out has many other benefits. From brain flow to alleviating stress, follow us as we explore these surprising benefits of working out besides weight loss.
1. Shedding Stress Along With the Pounds
Working out has the ability to make most of your troubles go away, at least temporarily. Working out helps to alleviate stressors in your life.
This works through sweat building up concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can help control the brain’s reaction to stress.
Working out typically makes us feel good, and this is because of the neurological effects of sweating. Not only will working out help relieve any stress in that moment, but it will also aid the body’s ability to manage stress the next time it occurs. Sounds like a great thing to us.
Our advice is to stick to exercise that you enjoy. Do not force yourself to perform exercises in the gym that are only arduous to you. Instead, find something you enjoy. It can be as simple as walking around the block, hiking in the woods or visiting your local mall for an hour. Perhaps that retail therapy might help, after all.
2. Banishes The Winter Blues
A depressed mind makes for a tired, unmotivated person. Typically, the winter blues set in and we find ourselves in this mindset. However, did you know that exercise can help you rid of this funk?
It is true. Exercise can help shed the winter blues. Because exercise helps promote the secretion of serotonin, a hormone responsible for mood stabilization, our mental states benefit from exercise.
Perhaps you have noticed this phenomenon before. Most runners are well aware of the natural “runner’s high” that they experience after a lengthy, demanding run.
It might help to define what constitutes as exercise. We are not telling you to go run a marathon. Find an exercise that you enjoy. Spend time devoting yourself to that exercise. Walking, running, even hiking or biking can all help improve your mood.
3. Promotes A Healthy Immune System
Clearly, exercise promotes many things in addition to the loss of weight. Besides helping with weight loss, relieving stress and promoting a positive attitude, exercise also helps promote a strong immune system.
Researchers have found that those who exercise regularly have stronger immune systems. While the difference appears slight, experts claim it is an important difference.
Those who exercise regularly have a decreased reaction to any inflammation within the body. This means that heart disease and diabetes are less of a worry, since inflammation is not as prevalent.
If this is your first time working out, then we recommend that you take your time and not rush. Do not expect to see results right away. The immune system takes quite some time to improve. We recommend that you stay at a duration and intensity level that works best for you. If 10 minutes of exercise is strenuous for you, then stick to a time that you can get through it seamlessly. Until then, do not worry and stick to what feels right.
4. Boosts The Brain’s Ability
Scientists are beginning to claim that neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, occurs after cardiovascular exercise. Therefore, another great yet surprising benefit of exercise includes improving brain performance.
Experts claim that a strenuous workout can increase a protein created by the brain. This protein is responsible for promoting decision-making, higher-order thinking and learning.
Experts claim that any type of exercise is sure to help promote the growth of this protein. Therefore, stick to an activity that you enjoy. Scientists are also saying that frequent physical activity can also help enhance the body’s ability to learn new things and sharpen memory.
Sweat helps the hippocampus become more active. The hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory. This is why children’s cognitive development is directly linked to physical fitness. However, this does not just apply to children. Adult hippocampuses can also benefit from regular physical activity.
5. Alleviates Anxiety
Similarly to how physical activity helps alleviate stress, it can also help reduce anxiety. Sweating releases certain chemicals that can help people with anxiety disorders calm down.
The next time you are feeling anxious, second-guess taking that bubble bath and go for a twenty minute jog instead.
6. Promotes Creativity
Not only does physical activity promote wellbeing and positive thinking, it also promotes creative thought.
Researchers tested almost 50 athletes and 50 non-athletes using a creativity test. For the first half of the test, participants had to think of alternate uses for a pen or pencil.
Next, participants were required to create three words linked to a series of words they were given. Researchers found that those who exercise regularly scored exponentially higher than the non-athlete group.
Immediately following a workout, the body’s creative ability is enhanced for up to two hours afterward.
7. Encourages Rest And Relaxation
We have already established that a great workout can make us feel mentally clear and at peace. Our minds are at a creative pique, and we should take full advantage of the way we feel after our workouts.
Have you ever felt like you could go to sleep after a quality workout? This is because workout enhances our relaxed state.
Even people with insomnia claim to reap the benefits of exercise before bedtime. Workouts can be equivalent to a sleeping pill because of its effect on the body.
Whenever the body’s core temperature drops, this signals to the body that it is time for sleep. Therefore, if you have a moderate workout that occurs hours before bedtime, as you wind down and make yourself comfortable after your exercise, your body will begin to feel the effects of this signal to sleep.
8. Builds Friendships
It might sound trivial, but working out alone is seldom enjoyable. Sure, it might help relax you and de-stress, but finding a workout buddy is yet another surprising benefit of working out.
Working out with your friends can sometimes become cumbersome. You both know you are compatible, but you may not share similar workout goals and therefore your workouts are not as fulfilling as you would like.
Perhaps this might even begin to breed resentment, as you and your friend begin to disagree over your workouts.
Truly, finding someone as a workout buddy is a win-win. You meet someone who has similar goals as you do, and you now have a new friend. Need we say more?
9. Promotes Productivity
In addition to the multitude of other benefits, exercise also helps us become more productive individuals.
Scientists have proven that those who walk away from their work and exercise on a frequent basis tend to be more productive and have more energy while on the job.
When compared to their sedentary peers, these people complete much more, and higher quality, work.
Experts believe that midday is the best time for a gym session. With the busy schedule of work or watching children, it becomes difficult to make time in the middle of the day for exercise. However, we should try our best to take advantage of these prime times for our body’s circadian rhythms to complete workouts.
10. Helps To Keep Addiction At Bay
Regular exercise, believe it or not, releases dopamine, which acts as what experts call a “reward chemical.” This “reward chemical” responds to pleasure. Therefore, instead of relying on dopamine releases from negative things, such as drugs or alcohol, others can use exercise to help them recover from addiction. In a way, exercise provides us a new addiction that is much healthier to get hooked on.
Short spurts of exercise can help recovering addicts find a distraction, which also helps them to remind themselves of their priorities.
While this is a short-term, temporary fix, it also allows for the longer-term process to begin. If a recovering addict resorts to exercise before a relapse, then this begins a new addiction to help boot out the old.
Truly, exercise has a multitude of health benefits. Improving cardiovascular health and weight loss are merely on the back burner,
now that we know of all the other health benefits associated with exercise.
We hope that this has motivated you to continue getting out and moving your body. However, if you feel you are strapped for time, then let us leave you with a list of ideas for a creative and quick, yet effective, workout:
- Drop And Give Me 50: A high-intensity workout that will prove highly effective for your upper body area is to repeat the following for five sets: 10 to 15 pushups,
pull ups, a one-minute plank, and 10 renegade rows.
If you create a circuit of these four exercises for five sets, then you are sure to feel the burn in a matter of minutes. Effective, easy, and quick.
- Use Your Weight To Your Advantage: Resort to exercises that only require your body weight. Exercises such as this include: planks, squats, pushups, lunges, dips and crunches. If you try to include these short exercises into your daily routine, then you are sure to see a difference in no time.