Here in part two of 15 reasons to work out for the anti-narcissist we’ll explore five more benefits of exercise for those of you who don’t buy fat-free milk because you don’t think even cows should have body image issues. Seriously, even if body image isn’t important to you, there is still a long list of good reasons to exercise. Check out Part One of this series here.
On average those who don’t participate in some form of resistance training on a regular basis will lose 1% of their muscle mass per year after the age of 30. This means that by your golden years everything will not only be more difficult, but you’ll also likely suffer posture and mobility issues, back problems and miscellaneous aches and pains. Most of this can be avoided with regular weight training.
By middle age, one of the primary complaints of non-exercisers is that they ‘feel tired all the time’. This is largely due to decreased oxygen exchange efficiency. Their heart and lungs are no longer working as they once did. The lack of oxygen to all the cells of the body results in fatigue, often chronic fatigue that just never seems to go away. In addition, keeping body fat down helps with oxygenating muscles and organs. Fat cells need oxygen too, so the less fat you have the more oxygen is available for the rest of your body.
Reduced Risk of Arthritis
Arthritis is the number one chronic illness experienced by the middle-aged and elderly. While heavy weight training or excessive high-impact cardio can actually increase your risk of arthritis, moderate to low-weight training, low-impact cardio and especially exercises that focus on flexibility such as Tai Chi or yoga can greatly decrease the chance that you’ll develop arthritis. In addition, if you already have arthritis, these low impact flexibility exercises can reduce the symptoms.
As we age, many people find that they can’t sleep as soundly as they used to. Causes for this are stress, difficulty breathing and an inability to find a comfortable position. Exercise can address all of these. Regular exercise releases serotonin and dopamine, which are the body’s natural stress fighters. Better cardiovascular health will make breathing easier and even reduce the incidence of sleep apnea. Finally, the more trim and toned you are the easier it is to find a comfortable position. Better sleep pays many benefits, from more energy during the day to a stronger immune system to increased mental alertness.
Benefits of Exercise for Mood
Regular exercise has a host of benefits for mood as it releases or maintains higher concentrations of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and even BDNF, which is responsible for mental acuity. I won’t go into all of these benefits here as I’ve already written a complete article on The Hidden Benefits of Exercise.