By: Heloise Vuong
Working out might seem like a drag sometimes and let’s admit it- we’ve all butchered our workout session a couple of times here and there. Exercising regularly can be tough, but it’s totally worth the effort! Although physical activity is crucial to a healthy weight loss and to maintaining weight, it has many other unexpected physical and mental benefits. Whether you’re a gym rat or more of a mall-walker, these benefits kick in regardless of your fitness level, only 30 minutes a few times a week can let you benefit from all this goodness, so get inspired to live a healthier and happier lifestyle through these 5 extra reasons to workout:
1. Boost your mood
Physical exercise has proven itself to be somewhat effective against symptoms of depression. Exercising causes a release of endorphin and dopamine. Endorphins are chemicals that are produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary gland. Similar to morphine, endorphin is a chemical with pain-relieving properties. The release of endorphins brings feelings of happiness and euphoria, the same chemical is released during sex. Dopamine is also a chemical released in the brain when triggered by any type of pleasure. Associated with exercise, drugs and alcohol, it controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Not only you’ll be glad you’re done with your workout- you’ll have an extra happy buzz.
2. Boost your memory
Our brain cells and the cells that compose our nervous system are called neurons. Unlike the other cells in our body, they do not undergo cell division, which means they do not get replaced once they die. Aging and other degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s causes those brain cells to die off, impacting brain functions in the process. Exercise, especially between the ages of 25 and 45, produces chemicals that protect a part of the brain specialized in memorizing and learning called the hippocampus.
3. Boost your sleep quality
Although seven hours per night is the magic number, it might not work for everyone. Some of us don’t get that much sleep and others just need more, either way, it is to the benefit of all to get the most out of those eye-shut hours. A recent study has demonstrated that exercise alleviated symptoms of insomnia. This happens because moderate exercise causes the body temperature and the metabolism functions to increase following your workout. Once your body’s core temperature returns to its normal temperature, it sends a message to your brain that signals it is time to sleep. Working out five to six hours prior bedtime is suggested in order to feel the most benefits. So trade your sleeping pill for your sneakers!
4. Boost your productivity
Feeling unproductive? A little bit of physical exercise might just be the solution. A research experiment conducted in six different workplaces tracked how mandatory physical exercise affected productivity. The six workplaces were then divided in two groups; the first group was prescribed mandatory physical exercise and had a 2.5- hour reduction of working hours per week, the second group’s conditions were left unchanged. Although the first group worked less hours, it showed the highest increase in self-rated productivity. Not only did the quantity of work improve, but the ability to work as well.
5. Boost your self-confidence
Let’s admit it− we’ve all checked in the mirror after doing five crunches to see if our six-pack suddenly appeared. Exercising is an overall great method to improve self-esteem by promoting a positive self-image. Working out makes us feel healthier and more attractive, consequently, our whole perception of self-worth is elevated.
Although we all try to motivate ourselves to workout by picturing our bikini body, there is just so much more physical exercise can bring to us! Next time you’re about to give up on running that extra mile, keep running for these five extra reasons.