The only real downside of fitness is having to actually work-out, get sweaty, take time out of your day, and perhaps be sore the next day. Getting started is a pain just dreading being sweaty and totally out of breath.
We already know “exercise is the best ‘medicine’” to avoid strokes, heart attacks, and some cancers. If you exercise regularly, you are very likely to live longer and healthier. We know if you are fit, you have less risk of falling or getting an injury from a minor stumble. This isn’t like taking some bitter medicine day after day. After a couple of weeks, your newly active and flexible body starts to look forward to it. You know that you will feel better, increase your self-esteem, become more confident and energetic.
So, hang in there! Still not convinced to turn over a new leaf? Or if you are already fit, you already know the bennies. Here are some other exercise benefits that are under the covers and you may not know about:
- Relieves stress and anxiety. Serotonin and norepinephrine increase, you release endorphins and endocannabinoids. That’s doctor talk for you get lots of goodies from your own body that relieve stress, relax you, and help you feel great.
- Improves Mental Health. Believe it or not, you release substances that combat depression and anxiety. Your chances of getting Alzheimer’s and other mental deterioration are less with regular exercise. Even younger people can be sharper mentally with exercise. Added bonus: you grow more new brain cells, even in old age.
- Decreases pain. The stretching and working of muscles and joints actually decreases pain, even for chronic back pain and arthritis. Probably trying to run a marathon your first day may not help, but gradually stressing joints, improves the tissue and stretching muscles and tendons helps fibromyalgia or just tightness from disuse. Plus, through a mechanism of pain relief called “gate control”, exercising activates impulses that block normal aches and pains.
- More energy. Your body pumps more oxygen-rich blood to all of your tissues and your body learns to burn oxygen and nutrients more efficiently to produce more energy. Even chronic fatigue syndrome improves with regular exercise. It goes against the conventional wisdom that spending energy drains energy: use a lot of energy to exercise and tons of energy will come back to you! Too bad every investment doesn’t work like that!
- Better Love Life. This is true for men and women. With exercise, your energy and self-esteem from improved appearance contribute. You are also more flexible and ready for action!
- Healthier skin. The increased blood flow and decreased inflammation help you look younger – often without external treatments. Going the other way, stress and fatigue can add years to your skin that exercise helps alleviate.
- Less colds and flu. Exercise enhances your immune system and you release more white cells (the ones that are your army against attacking infections). Statistically, even a little exercise helps decrease these common infections.
Any exercise beats no exercise. Even walking a few minutes a day can help a lot. These days, you can test your fitness at clinics like Victoria Healthcare. You can test for any underlying problems that make exercise less safe for you. Your doctor and his/her team can help you develop more scientific exercise strategies to get you fitter quicker and also avoid injury.
See you at the gym or jogging trail!