Most of us know that exercise is good for you - even those of us who choose not to worry about that too much! It's one of those fundamental facts drummed into us all from childhood, so much so that it just becomes a part of our everyday working knowledge. When we think about the benefits of exercising we usually think of weight loss first and foremost, but there are actually a whole host of reasons we should all be exercising that many of us don't know about.
1. Boost your confidence
Not only does exercise usually improve your appearance, which will then in turn improve your confidence, it also has other confidence boosting qualities. It can make you more socially active and make you feel accomplished. Even if you're not seeing immediate results in your body the effort you're making will have you feeling better about yourself.
2. Sleep better
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, the National Sleep Foundation states that regular exercise can help you sleep better. You will want to work out during the day, rather than before bed as exercising too close to bedtime can actually have the opposite effect!
3. Improve your memory
We can often feel as though we're thinking more clearly after a good workout, this is because we're supplying our brains with much more energy and oxygen. But regular exercise doesn't only improve our memory in the short term. Research conducted by the Alzheimer's Society has suggested that regular exercise could reduce the risk of individuals developing dementia, yet 64 % of the people they surveyed were unaware of this. Susannah Spencer, Dementia Specialist at Country Court Care says 'What's good for the heart is good for the head and regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia, so it's worrying that so many people questioned didn't know that.'
4. Live longer
It's no secret that leading a healthy lifestyle helps you to live longer, but you might be surprised at just how much. One study found that exercise improves life expectancy as much as quitting smoking! And you'll be please to know that you don't need to turn yourself into a lean, mean exercising machine in order to access this benefit. Research has shown that walking for just 15 minutes a day (an easily achievable goal for most!) reduces the risk of an early death by 22%.
5. Have better sex
Yes, studies have indeed shown that regular exercise can improve your sex life. It can increase arousal and decrease men's risk for erectile dysfunction, likely because it improves circulation. Now, do please finish reading the rest of the article before you all run off to the gym!
Our lives are so fast paced these days that everybody has stress in their lives. You might just have the occasional rough day or maybe you have a more serious, chronic problem. Whatever level of stress you have, it can really wreak havoc with your mind. 'In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health,' according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). So it's really a much bigger problem that you might think in today's society. The good news is, research has shown that exercise is a great way to combat it. Not only are those endorphins natural stress-fighters, but your mind is often off the things that might be stressing you out whilst you are exercising.
7. Keep well
Nobody likes being ill and exercise can help you to keep well. People who exercise regularly are half as likely to catch a cold as people who don't, which are odds I like! Taking a good steam afterward can help as well.
8. Be happier
All these factors put together make for a much happier you. Regular exercise can actually improve your life in so many ways. All you need to do is make it a habit, find a way to fit a quick workout into your daily routine and you'll be well on your way.