Much attention has been paid to the healthy benefits of exercise over the last couple of decades. Numerous research reports have shown the correlation between exercise and optimal health and wellness. Yet the levels of stress and anxiety are on the rise while our overall health is declining. Many people micromanage their stock portfolios on a daily basis yet ignore their health until it’s too late. It’s time to become more proactive in your health and less reactive, because it will already be too late.
We all know that exercise can make you feel better, look better, move better, and perform better, but the website Greatist.com recently compiled a list of several other unexpected benefits of exercise that you may not realize. Here are what I feel are the top 9 unexpected benefits of exercises from the article.
Reduce Stress and Increase Relaxation
Let’s face it, we live in an “always on” society that impacts us all. Our advances in technology and communication have lead to greater productivity with an enormous amount of stress. Even children these days have significant amounts of stress trying to fit all their homework and activities into their crammed schedule. Luckily, exercise has been shown to reduce and manage stress in the future by increasing your concentration of norepinephrine, a chemical in the brain that helps manage stress.
Based on this, exercising before or after a long day can both be beneficial in different ways. Exercising in the morning can put you in a better position to handle a challenging or busy day, while exercising in the evening can be a great way to unwind.
Enhance Mood, Improve Self-Confidence, and Reduce Anxiety
An important part of our overall health and wellbeing revolves around our self-confidence and anxiety levels. Exercising has been shown to help both.
Exercise also release endorphins, which are responsible for enhancing your mood and create a feeling of happiness. Exercises as little as 30 minutes a day a few times a week has been shown to be effective at enhancing mood. This is why exercise is often prescribed for people with depression and anxiety, and has even been shown in some studies to be equally as effective as medications for treating depression.
I know I am always in a better mood and feel infinitely better after I exercise.
Boost Learning, Memory, Creativity, and Productivity
There is a ton of research on how brain function is greatly improved with exercise. Exercise has been shown to create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance.
Exercise has also been shown to increase the amount of a specific protein in your brain that is believed to help with thinking, learning, and decision making. Exercises increases production of cells in the hippocampus, which is the portion of your brain responsible for learning and memory.
For the parents, there is even evidence linking children’s brain development with their level of physical fitness. Research has shown that exercise increases children’s test scores by nearly 30% and that activity level of children correlated to better performance in school. Considering that physical activity on our youth is on the decline, this makes it even more important to find an appropriate exercise routine for our children.
For the older individuals, this has been shown to boosts the chemicals in the brain the support and prevent degeneration, keeping us sharp longer in life.
Start Exercising Today
I get it, we are all increasingly busier each and every day. Me too. Many people feel they are too busy to exercise. But sometimes taking one step back can help you take two giant leaps forward. Working less and exercising more may help you be more productive and healthy in the long run, and isn’t that what really matters?
So next time you think you don’t have time to fit exercise into your life, realize that making time for exercise is an important component of optimizing your health and wellbeing and will boast your overall productivity.