Regardless of all of the excellent reasons to exercise, sometimes we simply don’t know how to get ourselves to commit to it. After all, it seems terribly counterintuitive to exhaust ourselves on a regular basis for the sake of building endurance and getting stronger.
But, no matter whether we like it or not, we do have to accept the fact that an athletic and powerful body comes from doing stuff that involves moving our bodies in athletic kinds of ways. And there are plenty of good reasons to exercise, aside from attaining physical perfection.
Reasons to Exercise
#1 Releasing Endorphins
A little while back, Lena Dunham took up exercise in an attempt to get her anxiety and depression under control. She even documented some of her progress on social media to show people how her body as well as her mental health conditions were slowly becoming more and more manageable.
Although a lot of people have speculated that she mainly did it to feel more comfortable around her very popular squad, we believe that she was motivated primarily by her desire to deal with some of the most widespread, yet impactful psychological issues in the world – anxiety and depression.
When we exercise or engage in otherwise strenuous activity, our bodies release chemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals tend to interact with receptors in our brains that reduce our perception of pain.
But what makes endorphins particularly interesting is the fact that they can also trigger pleasant sensations that are similar to the effects produced by morphine. So, if we see a bunch of sweaty, smelly, super exhausted runners talking about how great and euphoric they feel, we can assume that they are talking about the effect produced by the endorphins.
But that’s not all. According to Phys Ed, writing for The New York Times:
“Exercise may be an effective treatment for depression and might even help prevent us from becoming depressed in the first place, according to three timely new studies… The pooled results persuasively showed that exercise, especially if it is moderately strenuous, such as brisk walking or jogging, and supervised, so that people complete the entire program, has a ‘large and significant effect’ against depression, the authors wrote. People’s mental health tended to demonstrably improve if they were physically active.”
Reasons to Exercise
# 2 Boosting Brain Power
If we examine the lifestyles of many highly accomplished people, particularly those with jobs that involve a lot of serious cognitive effort, we’ll find that they have a few things in common – taking up some form of exercise is one of them.
Physical activity has the power to increase our brainpower by boosting our memory and critical thinking skills. That is one of the reasons that numerous health professionals recommend a short cardio-break when we find ourselves stuck trying to find a creative approach to solving a problem.
According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, writing for Psychology Today:
“The effects of exercise on many of your bodily systems ultimately pays off in improving your cognitive functioning. There are now volumes of studies on humans as well as lab animals showing that regular physical exercise helps your neurons stay in shape particularly in the memory areas of your brain.
You do not even have to exert yourself that much to experience this memory boost. Moderate walking can help your brain’s memory center, the hippocampus, maintain its health and vitality. ”
When we exercise, we stimulate the release of brain growth factors, which are chemicals that affect the health of brain cells. Physical activity also strengthens our blood vessels and improves the production of new brain cells in-effect protecting our brains from a variety of degenerative diseases and other forms of age-related decline.
It also reduces insulin resistance and inflammation in our bodies, which are thought to be involved in numerous mental health conditions.
Reasons to Exercise
#3 Improving Our Sex Lives
A few years ago, when international supermodel Miranda Kerr and Hollywood heartthrob Orlando Bloom called the quits on their marriage, the former gave an interview in which she stated that her body was loosing tone due to a lack of sex.
Although it definitely sounds like something someone from tinsel town would say, Kerr’s statement is actually scientifically truthful. As if there are better reasons to exercise than improved intimacy and quality sex.
It’s no secret that sex can be physically tiring. From dehydration to leg cramps, any number of issues can suddenly turn a sexy moment into anything but. Regular exercise, however, keeps our muscles toned and strong, allowing us to have better endurance during steamy sessions between the sheets.
Because we are improving our overall body function, our bodies are also capable of responding faster to sexual content and sexual contact. As a result, both men and women report having better orgasms and by far more satisfying experiences from their encounters.
Furthermore, exercise greatly helps new mothers strengthen their pelvic floor muscles after giving birth; tightening areas that were otherwise stretched and weakened in the process. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
“Regarding the effect of pelvic floor strengthening exercises to increase women’s sexual self-efficacy, the findings of this study could lead health planners and managers to pay more attention to provide training of Kegel exercises to women in the postpartum period. This research could be a step toward training and encouraging women to do Kegel exercises during pregnancy, in order to prevent and reduce problems caused by pelvic floor muscle relaxation after vaginal delivery and to improve the women’s sexual self-efficacy.”
Life is full of distractions, chores, and responsibilities. Sometimes, it seems nearly impossible to take time out of our already busy schedules to purposefully make ourselves more tiered. But when we really start to understand the long lasting and widespread benefits of exercise, we realize that it’s not just about strengthening our bodies and improving our physical appearance.
Exercise is about implementing a life-sustaining practice into our daily routines for the purpose of improving our quality of life. And there really are no better reasons to exercise than that.