Many people choose to start a workout regimen so they can lose weight, build muscle, recover from injuries or train for an event like a road race. But apart from these more obvious reasons to exercise, there are other benefits that may not come to mind as readily. Below you’ll find five surprising perks of moving your body on a regular basis.
While it’s true that exercise requires an output of energy (and it can be a lot of energy, depending on the type of exercise you like and the length of your workout), it will also help you feel more energized afterward. The reason: When you’re sedentary, everything in your body becomes sedentary as well. Your circulation slows down (see: “get your blood pumping”), your muscles weaken, your joints get tight and your brain gets foggy. These effects can even compound, which is why it’s harder to start moving and exercising the longer you go without it. But working out reverses all of these slowdowns, literally reenergizing your body and helping you feel lighter, stronger and like you have more in the tank to take on the day.
There are a few reasons that fitting in a workout will help you go about your day feeling sunnier. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, brain chemicals that work on a cellular level to help improve your mood and brighten your outlook. What’s more, completing a workout, regardless of whether it’s ten minutes long or an hour long, is going to give you an incredible feeling of accomplishment. You chose to use that time to do something healthy and beneficial for yourself, and there’s nothing better than that feeling.
You know that while you exercise your muscles are working hard, which requires them to burn fuel for energy at a faster rate than if you were just sitting. This rate at which your muscles are using fuel is your metabolism, which is naturally higher during a workout. However, studies have shown that your metabolism doesn’t drop back down to previous levels as soon as your workout is complete. In fact, you can continue burning fuel at that higher rate for hours after you exercise—and if you’re working out on a regular basis, you can get to the point where you are spending more time in this state of increased metabolism than not.
Strong muscles are key, especially as you get older, but so are strong joints. The good news: Exercise is going to work both of them. Any movement that is weight-bearing is going to strengthen and reinforce your ankle, knee and hip joints, which play a crucial role in maintaining balance and flexibility and lowering your risk of injury. Likewise, consistent exercise prevents all your joints from getting stiff or inflamed, which can lead to problems like pain and limited range of motion.
Most people think of stress as a mental issue, but it is physical as well. Your feelings and experiences of stress are caused by increases in levels of certain hormones, and when these hormones remain at high levels for an extended period of time it can cause other physical problems. In addition, feelings of stress can manifest physically as pain or stiffness, often in the neck and shoulders for most people. But exercise helps keep levels of stress hormones in check, plus prevents stress from getting stuck in your body. And of course, if you can use a workout to release your stress and anxiety that can also go far towards helping you feel less stress overall in your daily life.
If you live in a P4LF community and want to get your body moving, join us for one of our free virtual fitness classes, taking place 7x per week. To view the schedule, reach out to your leasing office, or follow along with us on Instagram or Facebook.