What Are The Benefits Of Fitness? – Why you Should Start Exercising Now

You probably already know that exercising is great for your body, keeping it toned and managing your weight. However, it comes with a lot more benefits to your health and mind. In this article, you will learn all of them.

I spent many days researching through many studies and research papers so I could offer you the most complete piece of content on this subject.

In this article, you will learn all the benefits of fitness. From the immediate benefits after working out to how exercise helps people with depression, anxiety, or trauma, and many more.

Check them out below!

Immediate benefits


You can start reaping some gains right from your first fitness session. Reduced feelings of anxiety, reduced blood pressure, and improved sleep are only some of them. [1]

Improves your mental health


Exercise is a powerful remedy that can improve several mental health conditions. Here are some of the most common ones, along with the effects exercise can have on them:

Depression

Working out can be as effective as antidepressants when treating mild-to-moderate cases of depression. A study found that running 15 minutes or walking for an hour a day reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. [2]

Anxiety

If you have anxiety you’ll also benefit from exercise since it distracts you from what you’re worried about.

Working out also increases your heart rate. This makes your body release important anti-anxiety neurochemicals, such as serotonin, endocannabinoids, and others. [3]

Anxiety symptoms can get better from a single workout session, although more exercise is always better. Going for a mindful approach is a great way to get your mind off things. Try focusing on details like the rhythm of your breathing and your feet hitting the ground, for example.

Stress

Exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. It can also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters. Besides, it can help relieve physical symptoms of stress, including muscle tension, and neck and back pain. [4]

ADHD

The causes for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) aren’t yet known, but research suggests it may be related to a dysfunction of the neurochemical dopamine. Moving your body can have the same effects as the medication used for ADHD. It increases the levels of dopamine in the brain, which can help improve attention and focus. Besides that, working out helps people get rid of the restless energy that comes with ADHD. [5, 6]

PTSD And Trauma

A study found that regular exercise is associated with reduced Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trauma symptoms. [7]

Immobilization stress is often present in PTSD patients. Focusing on your body, the way it moves, and how it feels can help your nervous system move past this symptom. It’s important not to think about much else other than the feeling of your joints and muscles as you put them to good use.

Outdoor activities that engage both your arms and legs are the best to help you with your trauma or PTSD.

Makes You Happy


You already know that exercise is great for most common mental health issues. It helps prevent feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress. Along with that, it releases endorphins, which are hormones that produce positive feelings and also reduce the perception of pain. [8]

The intensity of your workout isn’t important: you’ll still reap the benefits either way.

Boosts your self-confidence


When you exercise, you’re investing in your mind, body, and soul. From transforming your body to making you feel happier, stronger, and more powerful, it works as a boost to your self-esteem. You’ll feel better about your appearance, which will make you more confident.

Boosts your brainpower


Physical activity produces proteins and other chemicals that improve brain function and structure. It increases your heart rate, which gets more blood and oxygen to your brain. It also releases hormones that promote the growth of new brain cells. The same endorphins that make you feel better also promote concentration and mental sharpness. [9, 10, 11, 12]

Prevents cognitive decline


Our brain’s structure and function are prone to change as we age, but exercise brings both physical and psychological benefits. Physical training fights some factors that have negative impacts on cognition. That way, by promoting cardiovascular health and improving blood flow to the brain, exercise helps prevent cognitive decline in older adults. [13, 14]

Weight management


For many of us, that’s the main reason to exercise. It helps you lose or maintain your weight, reducing the risk of excessive weight gain and obesity.

The key to maintaining weight is to burn as many calories as you consume and to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume.

That’s where exercise comes in, it burns calories. The type of exercise that shows better results when it comes to weight management is a moderate to vigorous aerobic workout. A good calorie-restrictive diet combined with a fitness regime has proven to be more effective for weight control than just one or the other. [15]

Strengthens your bones and muscles


Exercise helps children build strong and healthy bones. It can also slow the frequent decline in bone density that occurs with age. Besides that, it preserves and increases muscle mass, strength, and power in all ages. More intense exercises have been shown to improve muscle function to a greater degree. [16, 17, 18]

Reduces the risk of diseases


Research suggests that exercise can fight and prevent diseases in a natural way. [19]

Because the principal cause of chronic diseases is a sedentary lifestyle, exercise can have many benefits in preventing them. There are many chronic diseases that benefit from regular exercise. Some of them are heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal disease, brain disease, and cancer. [20]

Helps you sleep better


Besides making you feel good, exercise also makes you sleep better. It helps you fall asleep faster, it improves your sleep quality and you sleep more deeply. You’ll be more alert and have more energy during the day, experiencing less daytime sleepiness. [21]

Exercise also helps people with insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea to sleep better.

It doesn’t matter if you work out 8 hours before going to bed or less than 3 hours before, you’ll still get the same benefits.

It’s Good for your skin


Physical activity boosts blood flow which makes oxygen and nutrients travel to cells throughout the body. Therefore it removes waste products that were there. It promotes collagen production and new skin cells, which is good for anti-aging and makes your skin glow. [22]

Working out also reduces your stress, which could lead to breakouts and irritation. [23]

Make sure to clean your skin before and after your workout, and don’t forget to put on sunscreen if you’re outside.

Increases Your Energy


You already know that exercise improves your sleep quality. Because people rest more and better, they tend to feel more energized during the day.

Besides, physical activity helps you build stronger muscles and increases your endurance. Therefore it’s easier for you to complete daily tasks and chores without much effort.

Regular Exercise Makes For Better Digestion


Exercise also stimulates your gut and increases intestinal activity, preventing intestinal problems. [24]

It also strengthens the abdominal muscles and stimulates the intestinal muscles to move contents through the digestive system.

Help Manage Addiction


Withdrawal happens when a person discontinues the addiction. It can cause stress, anxiety, and depression. We already know that exercise can reduce all those bad feelings. Past the withdrawal phase, it can also reduce the cravings for the addictive substance or behavior (like gambling, compulsive sex, overeating, etc.) therefore preventing a relapse. [25]

However, exercise alone isn’t enough. The best approach would be to talk to your doctor and combine it with other therapies.

Improves Your Sex Life


Keeping up with a regular exercise routine promotes a better sex life. It helps strengthen your cardiovascular system, improve blood flow, and increase your flexibility. [26]

Studies show that working out can increase the frequency of orgasms for women. It also shows that it can improve sexual performance and erectile dysfunction symptoms for men.

Physical activity also boosts your energy levels and can improve your self-confidence, which can help boost your sex life.

Increases Your Chances Of Living Longer


Working out prevents some of the most common causes of death and preserves your cognitive function. It can make you live a longer and healthier life. A study shows that people who exercised anywhere from two to eight hours a week over the course of their life had a 29% to 36% lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease-related and cancer-related causes. The results suggest it doesn’t matter when you start exercising, you’ll still benefit from it even if you’re older. [27]

Summary


As you can see, the benefits of exercise are endless. Working out is the best medicine especially when it comes to preserving your physical and mental health. What else are you waiting for?

Martim Pintão

Martim Pintão

Martim is a fitness enthusiast who loves to help people get into shape. He founded Dream Strength in order to do just that, and he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon!

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