Some Unexpected Health Benefits of Exercise

May 2, 2014

Group of people at the gym doing spinning

Most people exercise for the obvious reasons. They want to drop a few pounds to look good in their bathing suit, they want to pump up those biceps to impress the cute girl at work, they want to fit back into those jeans they paid $120.00 for a few years ago, or their doctor told them during their annual physical that they had to lose twenty pounds.

While these reasons for starting an exercise regimen are not bad, there are several other benefits of working out that many people are unaware of. First of all, regular exercise promotes mental health and is a powerful tool in helping people overcome depression. Modern society contains a variety of stressers. Billions of dollars are spent each year in anti-depressant medicines. Studies have shown, however, that for some people, exercise can have the same affect as Zoloft in helping them reduce the symptoms of depression.

During exercise, chemicals called “endorphins” are released. These chemicals are what produce a “runner’s high.” This euphoric state is not just limited to runners, though. Any rigorous workout can bring on this experience. Most people that exercise regularly testify to feeling better physically, mentally, and emotionally after a good workout.

Another unexpected health benefit of exercise is increased sexual performance. Research indicates that both men and women who workout at least three times a week testified to a more fulfilling sex life. Getting in shape, toning up, and dropping a few pounds also provides the added psychological advantage that the person feels better about themselves. Drugs for erectile dysfunction have become almost as popular as anti-depressants! Men who continue to exercise regularly as they get older, however, have fewer problems requiring these drugs.

Several of the other health benefits of exercise have to do with the prevention of sickness and disease. Improved blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevention and control of diabetes are all side effects of working out. Heart disease is one of the top killers in the world. The heart is a muscle. Like the rest of the muscles in the human body, it responds to exercise. Working out makes a person’s heart stronger and makes it less susceptible to heart disease.

A last benefit of exercise that should be mentioned is that of improved memory and thinking skills. This benefit really comes into play as people get older and start experiencing memory loss. One study showed that older adults who walked on a treadmill regularly performed better in memory related tests and problem-solving. The study also seems to show that exercise stimulates the formation of new brain cells. While getting in shape to impress on the beach or to fit into those expensive jeans are good goals, it is nice to know that there are many other unexpected health benefits for that person who decides to start an exercise routine! 

What would developing a consistent exercise program mean for you?

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