6 benefits of working out – why we love an active lifestyle
The human body was made to move. Yet today many of us find ourselves at jobs sitting in front of screens, hardly moving at all in our everyday lives. Tight schedules and high stress levels means some of us choose to down-prioritize exercise.
The truth is, working out is about much more than looking good or loosing fat. It’s also about feeling good, being healthy and finding the energy to go through the rest of your life happily. Studies suggest that regular exercise can even make us perform better at work – by increasing our productivity and helping us make better decisions.
Just like our community, we love an active lifestyle. Here are 6 benefits of working out that will hopefully make you want to make get out, and get moving!
1. People that exercise are happier
People that exercise regularly are happier. Both cardio and strength training can increase your mood, with research suggesting that working out around 30 minutes, 3 – 5 days a week, can have the best positive mood boosting effect. University of Bristol found that exercising at work helps increase happiness, and that people who worked out felt re-energized and keener on networking.
Mental Health Foundation: How to look after your mental health using exercise
University of Bristol: Exercising at work – who’s it good for?
2. Working out decreases stress levels
Working out helps reduce stress. Endurance exercise reduces adrenaline and cortisol in the body, also known as stress hormones. At the same time, working out releases more endorphins which helps boost our mood and also makes us feel more relaxed. Clinical trials with endurance athletes have shown that exercise can be used to help treat anxiety and depression.
Harvard Medical School, Exercising to relax
Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine: The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed
3. People that work out sleep better
Do you have a hard time falling asleep, or do you tend to wake up several times during the night? Research has shown that people who exercise at least 150 minutes a week sleep significantly better, and also feel more energized during the day. According to the same study, between 35 to 40 percent of the US population have problems with falling asleep or with feeling tired during the day. Exercise could help!
National Sleep Foundation: Physical Activity Impacts Overall Quality of Sleep
Mental Health and Physical Activity: Association between objectively-measured physical activity and sleep, NHANES 2005–2006
4. Exercise boosts our immune system
We become healthier when we work out, not just because of muscle gain and fat loss, but also because we boost our immune system. Studies have found a link between regular exercise and a stronger immune system. Some studies suggest that working out can even help us prevent catching a cold.
American Council on Exercise: Can Exercise Reduce Your Risk of Catching a Cold?
5. Working out makes us smarter
Studies show that working out can actually make us smarter. Regular exercise helps us focus better and improves our memory. Some studies suggest that tough exercise benefits our brains by producing more brain-derived protein that is believed to help us learn better and make better decisions.
The Guardian: How physical exercise makes your brain work better
The New York Times: How exercise benefits the brain
6. Exercise gives us a confidence boost!
Setting and sticking to your goals can help anyone feel better about themselves and their accomplishments. There’s a lot of research that suggests working out makes us more confident about ourselves and our abilities, which of course also reflects in all other aspects of life. A study from the University of Essex suggests that our self-confidence gets an extra boost from working out outside.
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, UK: The mental and physical health outcomes of green exercise
Journal of Health Psychology: Effects of Exercise Interventions on Body Image