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10 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise

by Alexandra Parren

10 Unexpected Benefits of exercise Sundried

We all know we should be exercising. It helps us stay fit, keeps our hearts healthy, and prevents disease. But what about other lesser known benefits of exercise? Sundried explores some other benefits of exercise that are beyond the usual.

1. It could improve brain function

A study was done that examined the brain function of identical twins, one of whom was getting around 3 hours more exercise per week than their inactive counterpart. MRI scans found that there was more brain volume in the areas related to movement in the twin who was active. Other research conducted by The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease concluded that regular physical exercise in the elderly improved their brain volume and improved cognition. 

2. It wards off wrinkles

Wrinkles are an inevitable part of the aging process, but exercise can help. Wrinkles are caused by dry, taught skin and the lessening of certain hormones as we age. It has been proven that aerobic exercise promotes increased blood flow, which helps increase the rate of cell growth, natural oils, and moisture in the skin, giving it a fuller appearance. 

3. It can help you sleep better

If you are one of the 1 in 3 thought to suffer from Insomnia in the UK, exercise could be the answer. Research by The National Sleep Foundation found that people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. Research also found that one single moderate-intensity exercise session reduced the amount of time it took to fall asleep as well as increased its total duration. 

4. It improves your creative thinking

Research by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that those who did regular exercise performed better on tests of creativity than their sedentary peers. You often hear about people going for a run to clear their head, and it is proven to work. 

5. It improves your sex life

Testosterone is increased in both males and females when we exercise, and this increase in testosterone not only helps us to get stronger, it also increases libido. Additionally, the more you exercise, the better you feel about yourself, which in return enhances your sex drive. 

6. It can earn you more money

Research conducted by The Journal of Labour Research found that those who partake in regular exercise (defined as 3 hours a week minimum) earn more money than those who are less active. The research concluded that those who regularly exercise earn a 9% higher salary. It is thought to be because those who exercise more are more disciplined, which translates into their work. 

7. You are less likely to be depressed

There are multiple studies that conclude exercise is an essential part of a recovery programme for those suffering from depression. Research in the American Journal of Epidemiology studied 1,947 subjects over a 5 year period and found that physical activity helped to prevent both prevalent depression and incident depression. The endorphins that are released when you exercise are guaranteed to make you feel good, at least for a short while. Exercise gives you a chance to clear your head and spend some time alone, away from the stresses and pressure of life.

8. You're more likely to inspire others

Exercising is more fun when you do it with others. Joining a running club or finding a gym buddy can improve your training results and can encourage you to keep a regular training schedule. You are also less likely to flake out on a training session or a run if you have someone to let down. In turn, when other see you succeeded and reaping the benefits of exercise, they will be inspired to exercise too.

9. It can improve your memory

Research published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that aerobic training such as running or cycling increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. Exercise also gets your blood pumping. 

10. It boosts your confidence

Being physically fit can boost your self-esteem, and create a positive body image, but you don’t have to be in great shape for exercise to make you feel confident. Research findings from interviews conducted in the Journal of Health Psychology found that the act of exercise itself boosted confidence, rather than the participants actual level of fitness. The simple act of taking the time out of your day to do something positive for yourself promotes self-love and an increase in confidence. That explains the gym buffs posing in the mirror between sets then.

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