15 Benefits of Exercise That AREN'T Related to Losing Weight or Looking Good

It can get a tad bit annoying when I hear people talk about how they choose not participate in physical activity. There's a never-ending list of excuses: I don't need to lose weight, I don't have time, I don't want to look muscle-y, or they just don't think it's going to benefit them. 

Like seriously?! You think you don't need this in your life?! Well, I'm about to tell you why EVERYONE needs to be physically active. 

This is an addition to a post from two years ago. The first post I did wanted to take a step back from the science and the statistics and scale that back to make it personal; letting you know how exercise may directly impact you. The first ten reasons can be found here with few added notes and then the additional points below those. 

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FitFriday #14: 10 Reasons to Exercise Regularly

Exercise is good for you, duh, what other reason do you need?! My first post ever was on the science, statistics, and facts of why exercise is important. That was a post packed with statistics, graphs, images and all that other science-y stuff. It's a great post to learn about the hard core stats and look into how much health care is costing us because our nation is "unhealthy." But today, I'm just gonna give you ten reasons you may be able to relate to on why you should exercise regularly. (In no particular order).

1. Exercise can help you sleep. For those of you that want to try to get better sleep, try working out in the morning or early afternoon. Due to the chemical changes that happen in the body and the brain, working out in the evening may actually keep you awake at night. Every one is different though, find the time that best fits your body and your schedule.

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Sleep-Exercise-Study

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2. Stress Relief. Exercise is one of the best stress relievers out there. What's better than a good kickboxing class or spending an hour to yourself in the gym when you're frustrated. Getting "in the zone" will help you get out of that stressed mind set. There's science behind it too, during exercise the brain produces endorphins, natural stress-fighters.

3. Endorphins. So, more about the natural stress relievers I mentioned in the last point. Long story short, your brain makes drugs when you exercise. They're legal and they're natural, and they make you feel good. Win-Win-Win! Endorphins along with other chemicals released in the brain during exercise, help us feel good. They can block the pain and discomfort some may feel during exercise, this is the cause behind a "runner's high." And not only is this process working on your brain during exercise, it continues after as well leaving you with a better overall mood.

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endorphins

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4. Improves posture. Good posture is directly related to strong muscles. Think of all those muscles in your core, back, neck, spine, etc., that have to hold you up all day. Help them out a little bit and strengthen them.

5. More energy. Who doesn't want more energy?! That's a silly question. Exercise causes blood vessels to dilate, which allows more blood and oxygen to the muscles that are working. This process isn't only working while you exercise, but you'll also feel the effects afterwards and have a boost of energy for rest of the day.

6. Burn more calories at rest. That's right, someone that leads a boring life sitting in a chair all day is burning less calories than the regular exerciser that also happens to be sitting in chair. Well, how does that work?! The key is resistance/strength training. This type of training is how we increase muscle mass and muscle is a good thing, not just for flexing. At rest, muscle burns more calories than fat due to a difference in the metabolism of the substance. More muscle = higher metabolism!

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Muscle-fibers-631x421

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7. Stay focused. The brain has an easier time staying focused in those who exercise regularly. Why is this? Blood flow is improved with exercise. Blood carries oxygen. The brain needs oxygen for function. More sufficient oxygen supply is allowing the brain to better function. Again with the chemicals, hormones are optimized with regular exercise, which also helps the brain function.

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Focus-2014-Oct15

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8. You'll live longer. Exercise, the fountain of youth! So yeah, exercise is good for the body. There are countless medical issues and diseases that can be prevented or have a decreased risk with regular exercise. For a list of those, refer to this post. I don't know about you, but I'm loving this life, I'll take a few extra years with a high quality of life.

9. You'll save money. Sure, now you may be paying for a gym membership, a group fitness class fee, or home gym equipment, BUT not only are you getting all the benefits I'm listing, you're saving yourself from those diseases and health conditions I keep mentioning and therefore lowering your future health costs.

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moneybar

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10. Improves self-confidence and self-esteem. This is an easy one. You're gonna feel a heck of a lot better if you are active, productive, and improving yourself and your health compared to sitting around, watching those around you improve.

If any one of those points interest you, exercise!

If you would rather be a sleepless, stressed, unhappy person with poor posture, no energy, sitting around and not burning calories, while you're unable to stay focused, living a short life, paying loads of medical bills, and lack any self-confidence or self-esteem, don't exercise....EVER. ;)

All of these may not apply to you, but I can say that exercise is beneficial in many, many  ways.

At first, any improvement in physical activity is good. Move at your own pace, and no matter what you're doing, or how slow you have to go, know you're helping your body and becoming a healthier you.

FitFriday #11: Sleep is Your Friend!

Happy Friday everyone! I'm not sure how many of you out there are like me, but until recently, I had a "sleep when you're dead" mentality.

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sleep-caffiene

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It was a problem. I was afraid If I slept that I would miss something? I know, what a weirdo. (Never really gained any life changing experience by staying up on a random school night..). Pretty sure 75% of my senior year of high school was spent living on an average of  4 hours of sleep. My first few years of college were the same way. I just had so much to do, and see, and experience (or so I thought); sleep could wait.

When my life became more stressful last year, I tried to do the same thing. I was staying up late for dance practice and to finish homework, while waking up early from 8 am classes. (Not to mention the hour and a half drive to and from school to account for). It took a toll on my body, sickness and anxiety set in...it wasn't a fun experience.

I've learned the importance of sleep for myself at this point. My body doesn't bounce back like it used to (I sound like I'm so old, ugh). Years of abuse have caused me to realize, I need my sleep. And I've learned to love sleep.

There are still some days that I have so much to do and I choose to stay up late and only get a few hours of sleep in order to get everything done, but I feel it for a few days after. Filming for the movie this past weekend (#PitchforkMovie) really messed up my schedule and I'm starting to feel normal again, but my body is still out of whack. I'm only 21, I should have bounced back by like Tuesday, dang it! haha

And, as much as it kills me to say it, there are somedays that sleep just has to come before everything, including your workout. :( I just remind myself that sleep would do me more good than fatiguing my body even more.

Recently, I have read a few articles and seen a few images on the importance of sleep and even naps!

Some interesting facts I've learned about the importance of sleep:

  • Not enough sleep increases risk of being overweight
  • Adequate sleep helps us sort through information and learn better
  • While you sleep, inflammation is reduced and injuries are healed more quickly

Check out some of these charts and links!

Onnit Academy - Sleep When You're Dead?

WebMD - The Healing Power of Sleep

Health - 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep

importance of sleep
importance of sleep
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naos

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Before I wrap things up for the day I would just like to give a special birthday shout out to my baby sister, Faith! It is so crazy, she turns 8 today!

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11864937_10152893238146256_6199898246658734785_o