It’s clear that when you are active, you simply look better and fell better too. But the benefits of being healthy and fit don’t stop there. In fact, there are numerous benefits to regular exercise, although we’ll just cover 10 ‘big deals’ here. Come to think of it, there’s not one downside to exercise!
Do you want to lower your risk of dementia and other brain disorders?
Studies show that remaining active has a positive benefit on your brain.1 It keeps you more mentally ‘energetic’ and thus lowers your risk for brain disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. And don’t think because you are already old that its too late. It’s never too late to get active and reduce your risk of almost every disease.2 Dancing is a particularly good choice because it makes you sweat, but you also have to use your noggin to remember the moves.
Exercise your way to stronger bones
A big problem among the elderly is weak bones and it isn’t just women.3 Bones become stronger by adding calcium (and other minerals) rather than robbing them. This means getting enough calcium in your diet. But putting pressure on bones, through exercise, tells your body: “these suckers need to be stronger to handle this load.” The fact is, that folks who are active, have stronger bones, especially in older people.3 Thus, even if you are getting enough calcium, your bones may not be as strong as they should if you aren’t exercising.
Improve your sex life with regular exercise
One of the benefits of regular exercise that is important to many people is in the bedroom. Just from a practical standpoint, being physically fit of course makes love better and things “work” better too. Being stronger with better endurance and less mood-destroying flab are obvious advantages. But there’s more too. Exercise produces hormones called endorphins that cause the release of sex hormones, which in turn increase your libido.
It’s a little obvious but exercise builds muscle
The older folks out there probably know that as you age, you tend to lose muscle mass and it gets replaced by fat and connective tissue.5 On top of that, you don’t build new muscle as easily. That is, unless you exercise. Especially weight bearing activities, like, obviously, weightlifting, help you retain the muscle mass you have and even build more. More muscle means a higher metabolism, provides strength and endurance and helps prevent falls in older folks.6
Your guts can even work better
I know, you wouldn’t think that exercise has anything to do with digesting food, but it actually does. During activity, your abdominal muscles and your movements create varying pressures on your organs. This helps stimulate your digestive tract and eliminate problems like constipation.7 Who knew?
Decreasing stress is a great benefit of regular exercise
We’ve been told forever that exercise is supposed to improve mood.8,9 But there’s more too it. The reason exercise helps us stay calmer overall is that it causes the release of neurotransmitters that are directly associated with stress. Endorphins are also released which promotes a somewhat euphoric feeling.
Don’t get cancer. Exercise instead
There is no shortage of research connecting exercise with a reduced cancer risk,which is why it may be one of the most important benefits of regular exercise.10 Its pretty clear to see why when you consider that everything functions better with exercise. On top of that, being overweight increases your cancer risk.11 This is especially relevant for women because higher levels of estrogen are associated with breast cancer and estrogen is stored in fat!12
Work harder for better skin
While better skin probably isn’t enough alone to motivate some to exercise, it is a benefit. For starters, activity increases blood flow, everywhere. That includes to your skin, where it gobbles up nutrients and removes wastes faster and more efficiently. Exercise also helps improve acne by controlling the hormones that cause it. Finally, sweating clears out pores that can trap dirt and other crap, thus detoxifying your skin.13
More productivity at work via improved mental performance
I’ve already mentioned how exercise reduces your risk to all diseases of the brain. But it isn’t just about preventing bad stuff. Exercise lowers your risk of things like Alzheimer’s because it helps your brain function better. That means it isn’t just about preventing disease but improving what you currently have! That means you can focus better and longer at work or wherever.14 Plus, because exercise helps you look and feel better overall, it also improves your confidence and social interaction with others.15
Not all of the benefits of exercise are physical
Mix with other exercisers and you can build friendships that help you support each other in your exercise goals. Go to the gym, compete in local races, join group runs, etc. You’ll find that as you build new friendships and connections, that exercising becomes part of your life. This is really the end goal since most people fail because exercise can feel hard and boring. But if you are doing it among and with other people, who also depend on you to motivate them, then you’ll likely stick with it.