If you don't work out on a regular basis, then you likely know that you are missing out on the physical health benefits of sticking to a regular workout routine. However, you may not realize just how many other ways a regular workout routine can enrich your life. Read on to learn four other benefits of exercise that you may not even realize you are missing out on.
1. Exercise is Great for Your Mental Health
Even if you don't suffer from depression, anxiety, or mental illness of any type, everyone can benefit from a boost in mood and stress relief. Regular exercise has been proven to ease symptoms of depression and help relieve feelings of stress.
When you exercise, your brain releases "feel-good" endorphins, and these endorphins promote a more optimistic outlook on life as well as a relaxed feeling.
2. Working Out in the Morning Can Increase Your Energy Level All Day
If you are like many people, you may shy away from exercising in the morning due to the common misconception that working out in the morning will lead to you feeling exhausted the rest of the day.
While it would seem natural that using so much energy to power through a morning workout would lead to you feeling tired afterward, the truth is that exercising in the morning can actually help you feel more energetic all day long after your workout.
In fact, a study revealed that a good workout actually provides an energy boost that rivals the energy obtained after taking a stimulant medication.
While researchers are still unsure why exercise causes such a drastic increase in energy levels, they believe it is likely due to the fact that exercise increases blood flow throughout your body and brain, which allows your blood to provide much more energizing oxygen to your cells.
Of course, if you just don't have time to work out in the morning, you can still reap the energizing benefits of it by exercising in the early afternoon or after work in the evening. Just be sure to avoid working out too close to bed time, because the energizing effects could lead to you having trouble falling asleep.
3. Exercising During the Day Helps You Sleep Better at Night
If you suffer from insomnia or would just like to experience deeper, more restful sleep, then it may surprise you that exercise can also improve your quality of sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep, you may find that you begin falling asleep as soon as your head hits your pillow after starting a regular exercise routine. If you get plenty of sleep, yet still feel tired during the day, then you may be getting low-quality sleep that improves after you begin an exercise routine.
The National Sleep Foundation advises people who struggle with insomnia to engage in moderate-intensity physical activity, such as yoga, instead of high-intensity exercise, such as running. Studies show that moderate-intensity exercise helps improve sleep quality much more than high-intensity exercise, although the reason is unclear.
If you don't have a yoga studio nearby, then you can simply put on some yoga clothing in your home and pop a yoga DVD into your DVD player to reap its sleep-enhancing benefits.
4. Working Out Helps Keep Your Brain Sharp
Cognitive decline is a real problem in today's society, and many people begin experiencing a decrease in mental acuity as early as in their 40s or 50s. Of course, if you are younger and enrolled in school and/or have a job that demands clear thinking, you also want your brain to function at its best each and every day.
Exercise has been proven to ward off cognitive decline. Working out even triggers your brain to create new cells much more quickly, which may be why it has such a great impact on mental acuity.
If you know you should exercise to reap its physical health benefits, yet don't, then realize that a good workout benefits more than just your body. If you haven't worked out in years, then try a low-moderate impact workout, like yoga or walking, to see just how much it can enrich your life.
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