You've been told a hundred times that exercise is good for you and it's true — but it's good for a lot more than just losing weight or building muscle. Here are 10 other benefits you'll see from just a little daily exercise.
Title image by Crystal Eye Studio (Shutterstock).
10. You'll Improve Your Memory
Ever feel like you think a bit more clearly after a good workout? Not only is your brain getting more energy and oxygen, but many studies have shown that exercise can boost your memory and help you learn better. Of course, an intense workout right before a big exam could leave you more tired than smart — but the two are still undoubtedly linked.
9. You'll Have Better Posture
Good posture is important, and one of the best ways to fix your posture is to exercise the muscles holding you back. Regularly exercising your abs, back and other muscles can go a long way into fixing your posture, both sitting and standing.
8. You'll Boost Your Confidence
Obviously, exercise can improve your appearance, which can improve confidence, but there's more to it than that. Exercise can also help you feel more accomplished and social (if you work out at a gym). Even if you don't see immediate results in your body, that effort will make you feel better — and a bit of confidence can go a long way. Photo by chaoss (Shutterstock).
7. You'll De-Stress
We all have stress in our lives, whether it's the occasional rough day or a more serious, chronic problem. Stress can really wreak havoc with your mind, but studies have shown that exercise is a great way to combat it. Not only are those endorphins natural stress-fighters, but getting yourself into that exercise groove helps get your mind off the things stressing you out. Photo by Tess Mayer.
6. You'll Sleep Better
If you ever have trouble falling asleep at night, the National Sleep Foundation says at regular exercise can help you sleep better. The best time to work out is in the morning or the afternoon, rather than before bed — if you exercise too closely to bedtime, it can actually have the opposite effect! Luckily, there are other good ways to fill up that pre-bed relaxation time. Photo by Deeleea.
5. You'll Have More Energy
It may seem counter-intuitive — after all, working out can drain your energy quite a bit — but regular exercise can actually make you feel more energized throughout the day. In fact, one study found that exercising in the middle of the day can leave you feeling more energetic and productive for the rest of the afternoon. You should still try to get in some walking throughout the day, but a midday workout could be a great pick-me-up. Photo by nasrul (Shutterstock).
4. You'll Have Better Sex
Do we have your attention yet? Yes, studies have indeed shown that regular exercise can increase arousal and decrease men's risk for erectile dysfunciton, likely because exercise improves circulation (which is pretty important when it comes to sex). There are a number of ways you can improve your performance between the sheets and as they say, practise makes perfect. Photo by wavebreakmedia (Shutterstock).
3. You'll Get Sick Less Often
Nobody likes getting sick, and exercise can help. A recent study found that people who exercised regularly were half as likely to get a cold than people who didn't — which is odds I'd gladly take. Worse case scenario, if you can't muster the energy to go for a jog or pump iron, you do have less strenuous options. Photo by Anna Gutermuth.
2. You'll Live Longer
It's no secret that healthy living will keep you alive longer, but you might be surprised at how much. One study found that exercise improves life expectancy as much as quitting smoking. It really is true that sitting all day is killing you — and just a bit of regular exercise can stave off the reaper for a while.
1. You'll Just Be Happier
All this put together equals a much happier you. It's not just those "runner's high" endorphins — regular exercise can actually improve your life in oh-so-many ways. All you need to do is make it a habit — the University of Bristol found that people's mood significantly improved on days they exercised, so find a way to fit a quick workout into your daily routine and you'll be well on your way.
This article has been updated since it's original publication