If you need a little extra incentive to get off the couch and get moving, perhaps hearing a few of the pros of exercise will inspire you. Some of them you may already know, but perhaps some will be a pleasant, motivational surprise. From tip to toe, inside and out, here are 18 fantastic pros of exercise…
1. Toned, Sculpted Body
Sure, some of the pros of exercise are much more important (long life, yeah), but this one, while it may seem petty, is pretty inspiring — to look good in a bikini or to be able to rock skinny jeans. One of the biggest pros of regular exercise is a toned, sculpted, hot body. Even if this was the only pro, I’d exercise more!
2. Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
Your heart is a muscle, so to keep it healthy, you need to work it, like any other muscle. Regular cardio exercise, like running or swimming or even dancing, will give your heart the workout it needs to keep it thumping for decades, maybe even a century or more.
3. More Energy
If you’re wiped out at the end of the workday, and barely have the energy to run to the pizza place to grab dinner, not to mention to have an actual run, then this pro of exercise was designed for you. Regular exercise means more energy, as backwards as that sounds. The first week or so won’t be easy, but after that, you’ll notice an increase in energy you can’t even get from Red Bull. Another energy-boosting side effect? More exercise will encourage you to have a healthier diet, which will also give you more energy. Wow!
4. More Confidence
Not long after you drop your first dress size, you’ll notice a slight spring in your step. What’s that? More confidence! Your body is stronger, your muscles are toned, and your attitude has improved. Of course you’re more confident!
5. Better Mood and Attitude
That’s right, my dear — another pro of regular exercise is a better mood and attitude. Not that you need an attitude adjustment, but studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have fewer mood swings and generally have a happier outlook. Sweet!
6. Increased Sex Drive
Perhaps it’s the fact that you have more confidence, or the hotter, sculpted body you have now… but whatever the reason, regular exercise can also increase your sex drive. Tell your sweetheart to be prepared! Trust me, though. He’ll appreciate the extra attention, and maybe the extra exercise from you chasing him around the bedroom. *wink
7. Weight Control
There’s no magic pill that will help control your weight, but that is one of the pros of regular exercise… if you’re dieting to lose weight, add regular exercise to your routine to amp up the calorie-burning. If you’re already at a healthy weight, then regular exercise can help you stay there.
8. Lesser Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Being inactive can greatly increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, and if you already have diabetes, it can help you manage your blood glucose levels.
9. Decreased Risk of Stroke
The incidence of stroke has been tied directly to high blood pressure from a lack of physical activity, so it’s not a stretch to say that one of the pros of regular exercise is a decreased risk of stroke.
10. Lessen Your Risk of Certain Types of Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, one-third of the cancer deaths in the U.S. each year can be linked to diet and physical activity habits. That's about the same number of cancer deaths caused by tobacco. That’s why they recommend 30 minutes of physical activity every day, above and beyond what you get just going through your regular routine. A decreased risk of cancer? I’d call that one of the pros of regular exercise for sure!
11. Ease Chronic Pain
The entire pain management profession agrees, unanimously, on this point: that low-impact, regular exercise is key in preventing and treating chronic pain. If you suffer from back pain, strengthen your core. If you have joint pain, try swimming. Consult your own pain management doctor or therapist to put together a workout that’s right for you… but stay active, and you’ll experience a lot less pain. It’s true!
12. Sleep Better
While it’s not a good idea to exercise before bed, it’s been proven that for most people, one of the pros of exercise is better sleep. If you suffer from occasional insomnia, try it! But remember, don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or that might CAUSE the insomnia you’re trying to avoid.
13. Connect with New Friends
If you have fit, active friends, you’ll be much more likely to be fit and active yourself. No sitting around on the couch, playing video games or watching bad reality TV and eating caramel popcorn for you! Your new set of friends, the ones you made in yoga class or at the gym, will keep you on the straight and narrow… and maybe they’ll run that 5k with you… or that new Zumba class.
14. Have More Fun Shopping!
So many of the pros of exercise have to do with health, so this may sound a little petty and shallow, but really, it’s true. If your body is fit and toned, shopping for clothes will be a lot more fun. I can’t promise swimsuit shopping will be any less painful (I’m pretty fit but my boobs are still small), but shopping for jeans sure will be!
15. Setting an Example
Whether you realize it or like it or not, you’re setting an example for those around you, especially for your children. If you’re a lump on the couch, they will be too. But if you’re active, your children will be, too. They’re like little sponges, picking up your good habits, so set a good example and exercise regularly.
16. Be Inspiring!
You never know who you might be inspiring with your “I just finished my workout” posts on Facebook. M friend, Joy, inspired me to start running by sharing her experiences, and you might do the same thing for one of your own friends. Being the wind beneath someone’s wings? That’s def one of the pros of exercise!
17. More Memory
Oh, girl. I’ve forgotten more than I’d like to admit. But since one of the pros of regular exercise is an increase in memory, I shudder to think of the things I’d forget if I didn’t work out. Scientists explain the more-memory pro like this: more exercise means more oxygen to vital body parts, like your brain. Bingo! Now, where did I put my keys?
Stressed? Then start exercising! Research has shown than regular exercise is directly linked to coping with stress. Trust me, nothing will irritate your haters (and your ex) more than you being calm and cool while they spout off at you. Add to that your toned, buff bod, and they’ll be beside themselves. And work stress? Just picture your boss in the same yoga pose as that guy in the tights over there… and… well, yeah. Stress is gone!
With so many pros of exercise to enjoy, are you going to start working out today? Or tomorrow? Which of these advantages inspired or surprised you? Or do you have another exercise advantage to share?
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