It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.
By now, we all know exercise can contribute to a toned, Rockstar physique, but its benefits go well beyond what we see on the outside.
Once in a while, it’s good to remind ourselves exactly why exercise rocks, inside AND out!
Just a little bit of exercise can take you to a whole new level of awesomeoness, helping you become smarter, sexier, happier, healthier and more fit – and who doesn’t want that?!
Here are 7 great reasons to make exercise a part of your life….
1. Exercise Improves Your Mood
Exercise makes us happy.
Here’s how it works:
Suffering from stress? Don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone—most of us are in the same boat!
The good news is exercise can give you immediate relief. Exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones - adrenaline and cortisol - and gets you in a better frame of mind almost instantly.
Ok, awesome - exercise can reduce stress when you’re feeling it. But did you know that it can also help reduce the amount of stress you feel in the first place?
Exercise is actually a low-level form of stress in itself simply because it raises your heart rate and triggers chemical reactions.
What’s cool though is that the more you exercise, the better your body gets at dealing with this exercise-induced stress—and stress in general. So in a way, exercise builds your immunity to stress by introducing it in low levels, at regular intervals.
"Feel good" chemicals
When you exercise, natural "feel good" chemicals (serotonin, endorphins and dopamine) are released and flood to the brain—and they make you feel great! This euphoric effect is famously called the "runner’s high."
Depression is a chronic and all too common mental condition, touching over 350 million people on the planet including me, many of my family members, and so many of my readers.
I get messages all the time from people who struggle with anxiety and depression. If that’s you, too, you are not alone.
Exercise is actually a powerful remedy for treating depression, effectively improving symptoms for people who are suffering.
This is a big deal.
I’ve been using exercise (and breath work) as a natural combatant of depression since I was a teenager - long before I was diagnosed, and long before I was even aware that exercise was helping me keep my moods stable.
If we listen to our bodies, they will tell us what they need.
Both scientific studies and anecdotal evidence point to the same conclusion—when you exercise, you simply feel better about yourself.
It makes sense.
If you feel more fit and in control (not to mention sexy and strong), it’s logical you’ll feel more self-confident, and like the Rockstar you are!
2. Exercise Boosts Your Brainpower
Did you know…
Exercise literally makes us smarter!
It improves our IQ and fuels our higher level thinking skills–making it easier for us to problem-solve, plan, organize and - my favorite — multi-task.
Even better, exercise nourishes and "grows" our brains. Not only does that help with our memory, but it keeps our brain young.
A recent study showed that adults who exercise moderately had more gray matter in their temporal lobe - the part of the brain associated with memory and learning, which means the more you exercise, the healthier your brain can become. How amazing is that?!
Wondering why exercise has these “magical” effects?
It’s simple really.
Exercise gets the blood flowing, pumps rich oxygen and nutrients to the brain, and releases nourishing hormones that grow new brain cells and cell connections.
So it’s smart to exercise, because exercise makes you smart, which makes you exercise -see how awesome this cycle is?
3. Exercise Keeps You Healthy, Longer
Did you know that every one minute of exercise you do could add up to seven more minutes of your life?
Yes! You read that right.
Recent research shows that doing the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (i.e. brisk walking) can add 7 extra minutes of life for each minute you exercise.
Let me explain how...
Our chromosomes have little "caps" on them called telomeres, and a short telomere is basically a sign of age. When we exercise, we produce chemicals that keep our telomeres long, and they say those with longer telomeres live longer!
In other words, exercise slows aging at a cellular level.
Exercise also lengthens our lives in other ways, too, from preventing the common cold to lowering our risk of more serious, chronic diseases, like:
- Cardiovascular disease. Study after study shows us what you and I already intuitively know—moving your body at least a little every day is good for your heart
- Cancer. Did you know that exercise reduces the risk of at least 13 types of cancers?
- Osteoporosis. Strong bones are like a good health insurance. And while it’s a first line of defense against osteoporosis among the aging, strong bones are important for all ages and stages of life.
4. Exercise Promotes Amazing Skin
If you want great skin, exercise is a no-brainer.
It’s been crazy to me approaching 40, wondering when I’m going to start seeing more lines and wrinkles. I don’t wear much makeup - in all of my videos, I have on a layer of lightly tinted Bare Minerals SPF lotion for my face - and that’s it.
I definitely attribute a lot of my healthy skin to hydration and diet, but also - I can’t deny that regular, consistent exercise plays a big role!
Studies show that people who exercise frequently have healthier, younger-looking skin than those who don’t; in fact, starting an exercise habit can cause changes in the skin’s composition, sometimes making it seem like it’s aging backwards!
Not only that, but washing your face after a solid sweat session feels SO AMAZING, almost like an "inside-out" cleanse.
Remember earlier we talked about the stress hormone cortisol? Well, a high level of it can destroy collagen, and we all know collagen is what keeps your skin soft and supple. Exercise will lower cortisol levels, making your skin look a lot younger.
Are you starting to see how much exercise can do for you? I kind of want to start doing jump squats right now while I’m writing this….go ahead and take a break and do 10 with me!
5. Exercise Energizes
"Contrary to popular belief, exercising doesn't make you tired -- it literally creates energy in your body. Your body rises up to meet the challenge for more energy by becoming stronger."
- Samantha Heller, MS, RD
If you’re tired all the time and struggle to get through the day, the best solution may be to #stopdropandbettyrock, because the more energy we expend, the more energy we actually have!
It’s a great paradox that reminds me of one of my favorite quotes - “The more you give, the more you get.”
(Wouldn’t it be great if our bank accounts did the same thing? lol )
But WHY does it work like that?
Simply put, inside our cells, we have tiny organisms called mitochondria which work like tiny power plants to produce energy.
The more we exercise, the more your body makes mitochondria, and the more you produce energy (we can also make and nourish mitochondria through our diet—another reason why it’s so important to eat well!).
6. Exercise Helps Us Sleep Better
To quote Arianna Huffington, “Everything you do, you’ll do better with a good night’s sleep.”
Sleep is everything. It makes us happier, smarter, and more productive. It’s a cornerstone of my entire health and fitness regiment, and I take it super seriously. I use a sleep tracking app, and I always notice that I sleep more deeply on days when I have exercised.
In fact, the very best way to ensure you have that good, quality sleep is to exercise!
It’s also cool if you’re a sleep ninja like me and use other tricks like a white noise machine, satin pillowcase, tempurpedic mattress topper, or a cool room to protect the quality of your zzzzz’s.
When you exercise regularly…
...you’ll fall asleep faster.
...you’ll stay asleep longer, getting up in night less often.
...you’ll spend more time in deep sleep—that luxurious, essential time when our body renews and repairs itself. SO IMPORTANT!
7. Exercise Spices Up Our Sex Life
On a physical level, exercise increases circulation, improves blood flow, reduces stress, and renews energy.
All of which translates into a better time in the bedroom.
Intuitively, it makes sense.
When you are consciously taking care of your body and making healthy ‘self-care’ choices, you can’t help but feel better about yourself, and confidence is the sexiest thing you can wear!
Oh, and don’t let me forget… there’s one more important way exercise rocks your body...
...when we exercise, we eat better!
Studies show that we make smarter decisions about what we eat, how we eat, and how often we eat when we regularly get our workouts in.
And the good news is that you don’t have to spend endless hours exercising every day to get these awesome benefits.
I created the free #makefatcry 30-Day Challenge to help you experience these crazy awesome exercise benefits in just 15 minutes a day!
That’s really all it takes! How, you ask?
Have you ever heard of a HIIT workout? It stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, which means you push yourself hard for a short burst of time, and then you rest.
Go hard, rest, repeat.
It’s an efficient (and fun!) way to strengthen your body and burn fat FAST! You can check out some of my favorite HIIT workouts here on my blog!
HIIT workouts are also great because you can do them anywhere, which make them perfect for days that seem short on time, or when you need to exercise on the road.
All you need for an effective HIIT workout is your own bodyweight (and 15 minutes!).
Or you can take it up a notch by adding resistance. Resistance Training uses gravity (think body weight) or simple equipment --like a swiss ball, exercise bands, dumbbells, or even weighted household objects like water jugs or soup cans-- to push your progress just a little bit farther.
You can check out my new program, Home Workout Domination if you like this style of working out.
As you can see, making exercise a regular part of your life is totally doable, and totally worth it, as all this amazing, positive potential for your body AND your life has shown us.
Be sure to leave me a comment below and tell me about your workout today!
And please join me and the members from across the country and around the world in my online fitness community with weekly workout programming, monthly workout plans, live streaming weekly home workouts, and tons of support and motivation so I can spend more time helping you reach your goals!
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- Reynolds, Gretchen. “How Exercise May Help Us Fight Off Colds.” New York Times. December 16, 2015. Web. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/12/16/how-exercise-may-help-us-fight-off-colds/?_r=0
- Warbuton, Darren. E.R. et al. “Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. March 14, 2006. Web. https:www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402378
- Moore, Steven C. et al. “Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults.” JAMA Network. June 2016. Web. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2521826
- Reynolds, Gretchen. “Younger Skin Through Exercise.” New York Times. April 16, 2014. Web. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/younger-skin-through-exercise/?ref=health
- “5 ways exercise improves your quality of life.” Harvard Health Publications: Harvard Medical School. September 2015. Web http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/exercise-advice-for-people-with-heart-problems
- “Studies Show Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Life.” American Council on Exercise. Web. https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/159/studies-show-exercise-can-improve-your-sex/
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