We all know exercise is good for us. We need to get fit. We need to stay healthy. We need to exercise to keep in shape. The message is drummed into us constantly. It’s like when your favourite song gets overplayed on the radio, eventually, you either get bored and stop listening or smash the radio before your ears bleed. Just me? Fine, I’m kidding, but the point remains, we’ve heard so many times how great exercise for us, most of us have probably zoned out. So, we’ve come up with 10 not-so-obvious reasons you should be lacing up and going for that run. Listen up.
1. It could make your brain bigger
A study published in journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise studied identical twins exercise and brain function. The more active twin 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 those twins who were 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. It seems exercise is an intelligent choice.
2. It wards off wrinkles
Whether you like it or not, wrinkles are an inevitable part of the aging process. Short of spending a substantial wad of cash on anti-wrinkle creams or even botox, there aren't many ways wrinkles can be avoided, however, exercise can help. Aerobic exercise can help keep skin looking youthful as it promotes increased blood flow, which helps increase the rate of cell growth, natural oils and moisture in the skin, giving it a fuller appearance. So maybe you can exercise your way to pulling off 29 for another year or two?
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 (or creator) of your dreams. 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. So next time swap your Nytol for a lap around the block before you hit the sack.
4. It improves your creative thinking
We often hear, I'm just going for a run to ‘clear my head’ but in fact, regular physical exercise can help fill your head with creative ideas. Research by Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that those who did regular exercise performed better on tests of creativity than their sedentary peers. Whilst you may not return from your jog the next Einstein, next time your have a metal block, fetch your trainers.
5. It improves your sex life
A study in the Journal of Human Sexuality found that women were more sexually responsive after just twenty minutes of vigorous exercise. Testosterone is also increased in both males and females when we exercise, this increase in testosterone not only helps us to get stronger, it also increases libido. More obviously, the more you exercise, the better you feel about yourself which in return enhances your sex drive. Plus, of course, exercise enhances stamina, need I say more? Let’s move on to reason 6 so my cheeks can return to a regular shade.
6. It can earn you more money
Could it be if you are disciplined enough with yourself enough to train, you’re more disciplined at work? 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. So that eliminates the gym’s ‘too expensive’ as an excuse doesn’t it?
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, taking control of their exercise and bodies gives sufferers the courage and strength needed to start gaining control over other areas of their lives and start to make a recovery. Exercise can also prevent depression in the first place. Research in the American Journal of Epidemiology studied 1947 subjects over a 5 year period and found that physical activity helped to prevent both prevalent depression and incident depression.
8. You're more likely to inspire others
Exercise can inspire others and not just when you're posting your #fitspo gym selfies online. Exercising is like dominoes, if people see you exercising and enjoying it they're more likely to be inspired to join you or even give it a go themselves! Even when you're not physically exercising, if people can see a positive and healthy change in your everyday life due to exercise, they're likely to try and achieve the same results themselves. Inspiring those around you can also lead to finding a new running partner or a gym buddy, plus, who doesn’t like to hear they’ve been somebody's ‘inspiration’? Take the compliment and bring them on your next run.
9. It can improve your memory
What was reason 9 again? I’ve forgotten… haven’t done my workout yet today! I’m messing, but exercise can seriously 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 which is involved with verbal memory and learning. So don’t forget to go for that run later!
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.
So, what are you waiting for?