5 Benefits of Exercise that Aren’t About Weight Loss
While many of us head to the gym or go for a run to start or end the day in an effort to drop some weight, there are many benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with a smaller waist. After reading these 5 benefits, you may just forget about losing weight!
If you’re trying to lead a natural lifestyle, or just be healthy, exercise has to be just about the most natural thing you can do for your body to promote optimal health and prevent disease.
While many of us head to the gym or go for a run to start or end the day in an effort to drop some weight, there are many benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with a smaller waist.
As a sedentary lifestyle with a focus on convenience has become the norm for many around the world, it has become increasingly important to move the body.
After reading these 5 benefits, you may just forget about losing weight!
State of Euphoria
If you’re a runner or have always heard people talk about the “runner’s high” then you know exactly where this is going. An intense workout that raises the heart rate, works up a sweat and get you breathing heavy will cause a chemical reaction in the body. This chemical reaction releases a hormone called endorphins, which cause a state of euphoria. Depression and mood swings can be greatly improved through this high and after a consistent period of time, could even be relieved completely.
This hormone has been linked to pain relieving and relaxation, which is why many people become addicted to a workout, typically running, which creates this feeling. There are many types of exercise that create this chemical release, so just focus on a comfortable-to-hard exertion.
Better and Deeper Sleep
It goes without saying that a tired body and mind slip into a deep sleep much easier than one full of energy. Exercise not only helps the body boost energy after a workout, but it can also help exhaust the body and mind so that sleep comes more easily and deeply.
Think about the last time you got into bed and fell asleep almost immediately after your head hit the pillow. It is very likely you were mentally and physically exhausted that day. Exercise is the best natural remedy for insomnia and will help you wake up with a clear mind ready to tackle whatever comes at you. There are many studies that confirm insomniacs sleep better when they exercise regularly.
Happy and Healthy Heart
The heart loves to work. A heart that never has to work, however, becomes almost sedentary. The benefits of prolonged exercise are especially apparent in the heart, as it is a muscle and grows stronger with consistent exertion.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, and heart disease are just a couple of the ailments that are greatly relieved from a moderate aerobic exercise or brisk walk. It doesn’t take much to strengthen the heart, and the benefits are undeniable.
Stronger Bones and Fluid Joints
It has long been recommended to men and women over the age of 50 to lift weights or practice resistance training in order to increase bone density and prevent or treat arthritis. As we age, the state of our bones and joints can easily deteriorate as we are not as active. But just 30-minutes a day of aerobic exercise or weight lifting can help keep the joints fluid and the bones strong.
Moderate exercise can also helps prevent other conditions affecting the joints such as gout and osteoarthritis. Be sure that the exercise you do is low-impact and does not cause any sharp joint pain.
Mental Clarity and Sharpness
Exercise requires coordination and judgement to be sharp. When your body is moving faster, you have to make decisions faster and align your hand-eye coordination with your mind. This can help improve mental clarity and keep the mind sharp as we age.
A recent study from Japan published in International Journal of Sports Medicine found that resistance training and aerobic exercise help prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's. The hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system) is stimulated during exercise, increasing memory retention and strengthening mental clarity.
With all these benefits, why only focus on losing weight?