This week is the final installment in our series on the non-body-image benefits of exercise. Even if you don’t care what your body looks like, there are still lots of good reasons to stay fit. Check out Parts One and Two.
If you’re on a salary you might be able to afford being sick and missing work several times per month, but what about your reputation at work or your chances for promotion? And what if you’re paid by the hour? Missing work means a hit on your bank account. Many studies have shown a high correlation between fitness and a strong immune system.
In addition, you’ll have more energy and better mental alertness at work when you’re fit. This can mean a faster track to a raise or that corner office.
Exercise releases a host of brain chemicals that fight depression and anxiety. If you’re finding that your stress levels are becoming a problem and preventing you from being productive or making good choices, exercise can be the key. While most doctors today will prescribe medications for anxiety, these meds have side effects, some of them almost as bad as the conditions they treat. Simply making your body and mind more resilient, and naturally improving your mood and outlook is a much better solution and one of the major benefits of exercise.
Exercise is known to reduce stress, sometimes dramatically. It also leads to better sleep, which in turn will also reduce anxiety.
It Can Be Fun!
I know, for a lot of people ‘fun’ and ‘exercise’ are two words that don’t go together. But remember that regular exercise doesn’t have to mean lonely hours in your basement gym or running in 30-degree heat. Take a dance class. Go hiking. Join a fitness group. Go to the park with your kids. There are lots of ways that exercise can be fun. Look for activities you enjoy doing and you’ll enrich your life while staying fit.
Regular exercise has been proven to improve memory and perception as well as even raising your IQ! After we leave school and stop needing to learn every day, our mental abilities begin to drop off. Much of what is attributed to senility is actually just the effect of not having used our brain for years. While exercise doesn’t directly involve a lot of brain power, it does make us smarter, more alert and better able to retain what we do learn. It might even give us the energy and optimism to take a course or take on a new challenge. In any event, it will keep your brain younger, longer.
I saved the best for last! Increased cardiovascular health, better muscle tone and strength, and reduced anxiety are all factors in having a better sex life. You (and your partner) will be in the mood more often and have better endurance and creativity when you do have sex.
Good sex at any age is important for our mental and emotional health, not to mention for our relationship. Staying in shape means better sex throughout our lives.