Who doesn’t want to feel attractive and confident in their body? Working out can certainly help, but losing weight or improving your appearance is only half of the story. When the going gets tough and you need inspiration, these six surprising benefits of exercise can help keep your program on track.
1. Exercise relieves stress and anxiety.
Working out is just as effective as a prescription antidepressant according to the American College of Sports Medicine. In addition, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that, “One vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.” Still having doubts? Prove it for yourself! Start your day with a walk outside. Admire the beautiful sunrise. Listen to the birds chirp. Focus on performing deep inhales and slow exhales. Imagine negative thoughts exiting your body with each exhale, while positive thoughts replace them with each inhale. Repeat this breathing routine daily to feel refreshed and ready to go!
2. Exercise puts pep in your step.
Working out triggers the release of endorphins, hormones that make you feel happy and positive. You might not find the idea of hitting the gym on your lunch hour appealing, but an afternoon workout could help you avoid the poor attitude and low energy that sneaks up on you before your work day is done.
3. Exercise sharpens your focus.
Working out improves your ability to concentrate on what you’re doing. Have an important speech or presentation coming soon? Plan to perform a quick resistance training workout right before it starts. As crazy as it might sound, lifting weights right before your event will raise your testosterone and improve your posture, which could empower you to present yourself with confidence.
4. Exercise provides you with an emotional outlet.
Working out helps you deal with thoughts and feelings that trouble you. Having a stressful day? Take a walk to a quiet place, perform some gentle stretches while breathing deeply, and meditate. Mad at the world? Join a kickboxing class and express your frustrations through explosive movement.
5. Exercise increases your mental strength.
Working out improves the health of your mind and body. While going to the gym probably won’t turn you into the next Albert Einstein, exercise is a great way to improve your memory and mental health. Five workouts of at least thirty minutes per session can prevent age-related cognitive decline, according to Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
6. Exercise promotes body confidence and self-esteem.
Working out shouldn’t be a punishment that you inflict on yourself… exercise should be viewed as an opportunity to improve yourself. Do everything you can to enjoy the process of getting fit and healthy. Don’t be afraid to look in the mirror and admire positive changes as they occur during your fitness journey. Taking the time to appreciate your progress will make it easier to stay mindful of your goal and exercise consistently.
About the Author
Daniel Wallen is the CEO (Chief Empowerment Officer) of the Wallen Way. He is a personal trainer, Lifehack contributor, and author of, “The Busy Woman’s Guide to Getting Fit, Fierce, and Fabulous.”