In a race, those who finish first are awarded a medal. But in reality, all participants get a prize. It may not look like a gold medal, but the physical, emotional, and mental rewards are real and lasting.
A commitment to regular exercise isn’t in vain. The benefits of physical activity are many and well worth the effort. When the early morning workouts, the busyness of life, and your own laziness try to tell you otherwise, remind yourself of these truths and push on toward the goal. You’ll be a winner either way.
Starting with an obvious and much sought after reward, exercise is a key to helping you shed those extra pounds and enabling you to maintain a healthy weight. The effort of physical activity burns calories. And the more intense the exercise or the longer the duration, the more calories you’ll burn. Small increments of exercise can make a big difference in your weight loss efforts.
A second well-known reward of exercise is improved health. When your heart rate increases, it causes a cascade of positive effects on the health of your heart and circulatory system. A lowered risk of heart disease (a leading cause of death) and stroke, reduced bad cholesterol, a boost in good cholesterol, and prevention of high blood pressure are a few of the benefits.
An active lifestyle is also associated with a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes and certain cancers including lung, breast, and colon. Those with arthritis find that exercise is a great way to relieve pain and ease stiff joints.
Outlook on Life
Stressed out? In a bad mood or feeling blue? It’s time to start exercising. Exercise not only provides physical benefits, but psychological ones as well. No one wants to live with a cranky, uptight person, so blow off some steam and improve your outlook on life by going for a jog. Exercise stimulates the production of certain brain chemicals that help you relax while simultaneously curbing the production of chemicals responsible for nervous, edgy feelings.
The physical and psychological rewards of exercise lead to a boost in your confidence. Shedding a few pounds, reaching your fitness goals, and managing the stress in your life all contribute to an improved sense of self-esteem. So when you’re ready to feel better about yourself, get up and get moving!
Feeling dragged out may be related to poor diet, hormonal imbalances, or lack of sleep, but it could also very likely be due to sitting around all day. Exercise uses a lot of energy when you’re working out, but it gives you even more for the future. Physical activity increases your heart rate and breathing, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your body.
You can even prevent your mid-afternoon slump by going for a walk. You’ll be much more productive and focused when you do move your body for a bit. You may not feel like moving after a long day at the office, but it’s probably the best thing you could do for your short- and long-term energy and endurance levels.
Having trouble sleeping? Consider this: those who exercise are better sleepers. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try adding exercise into your daily routine and see if it helps. You may be surprised. Some people find that exercising too close to bedtime revs them up, so find a time earlier in the day for your workout.
The seventh reward of exercise is another you can’t see or touch, but it’s very real. Cardiovascular exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and improves brain function. Studies have shown that regular physical activity improves brain abilities like decision making, learning new skills, and memory for all ages, young and old.