Reduces stress, depression and anxiety
Exercising reduces stress and anxiety by diminishing electrical activity in tense muscles as soon as you finish your workout, which makes you less hyperactive and jittery. In addition, your body releases more endorphins for an hour and a half to two hours after your workout, which boosts your mood and promotes relaxation. Another benefit of physical activity is that it provides you with the motivation to improve your diet, and proper nutrition reduces stress. There is even evidence that regular exercise can aid in treating clinical depression.
Helps you sleep better
Although it may seem like common sense knowledge, studies linking regular exercise and improved sleep patterns are fairly recent. These studies have shown that moderate to vigorous 20- to 30-minute workouts three to four times a week help you sleep better. However, you should work out in the morning or afternoon rather than close to bedtime, or you may find yourself too energized to sleep.
Working out helps you fall and stay asleep more easily, and it increases the amount of time you spend in the deepest stage of sleep. It also improves the quality of your sleep by making the transitions between its cycles smoother and more regular.
Those buff lab rats might be smarter than we think. Various studies on mice and men have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (aka neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Ready to apply for a Nobel Prize? Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
Builds and maintains healthy muscles, bones & joints
As you get older, your bones lose density (mass), your joints become stiffer and less flexible, and your lean body mass decreases. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to slow or prevent muscle, joint and bone problems. A moderate to vigorous workout program can help you maintain strength and flexibility into your golden years.
Hop on the treadmill to look (and more importantly, feel) like a million bucks. On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness, that is, self-worth. How’s that for feeling the (self) love?