Real Reasons to Exercise, Part 3
March 8, 2014

Real Reasons to Exercise, Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2, this series discussed the real reasons to exercise based on general health and physical health. As the final installment, here we will look at the mental and emotional health benefits of exercise. Let’s get to it.

What are the benefits generally?

  1. Sleep Better
  2. Improves Self-Esteem
  3. Improves Sex Drive
  4. Exercise is Fun and Enjoyable
  5. Reduces Anxiety and Depression
  6. Improves Focus
  7. Improves Energy Levels
  8. Improves Confidence
  9. Helps Reach Your Potential

However, like in the other two parts, these also deserve more time to really understand why we should exercise based on these reasons. Let’s jump to it.

1) Sleep Better

Bad sleep affects our health in so many detrimental ways. Both our brains and bodies need good sleep in order to function and be healthy. Those who exercise often have better sleep because they fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. This gives the body time to refresh and heal, and it gives the brain time to cope with all it takes in on any given day.

2) Improves Self-Esteem

Even if you are not exercising to “look good,” the act of exercising improves self-esteem. First of all, exercise naturally leads to weight control so your body will feel better. Moreover, though, you feel better because you know you are doing something good for yourself. This improves our self-esteem naturally.

3) Improves Sex Drive

Okay, so beyond the fact that our self-esteem improves (which will often lead to feeling more desirable and desiring more), exercise increases circulation and sex hormones. Both of these increase sex drive. So if one wants more sex, he or she should exercise more.

4) Exercise is Fun and Enjoyable

Remember being a kid and loving to play outside at recess or after school? That was fun, and that was exercise. As adults, we need to find what exercise is fun for us as individuals. For me, I absolutely love walking and jogging, biking, hiking, and yoga. Every week I do yoga at least three days a week and often more. I walk, jog, bike, or hike at least four days a week, and sometimes more. This means every day I engage in fun exercises. I am able to listen to pod casts, audio books, watch tv shows or movies, and even read (when I do a recumbent bike). I absolutely enjoy my exercise. So others just need to figure out what is fun and enjoyable for them. Whether that’s group exercise courses, weight lifting, running, swimming, any of those I mentioned for myself, or whatever, if we enjoy the exercise, we are more likely to stick with it.

5) Reduces Anxiety and Depression

As Built Lean puts it, “Exercise is a great mood elevator to help you manage stress and reduce anxiety. The antidepressant effect of regular physical exercise is comparable to the potent antidepressants like Sertraline.” Plus, if exercise increases self-esteem, gives us some fun, and increases energy and confidence levels, then all of these help us deal with anxiety and depression.

6) Improves Focus

Exercising is good for the muscles and bones, but it is also good for the brain as it improves our abilities to concentrate, remember, visualize, plan ahead, and solve problems. Mostly this is due to the fact that our brains receive more oxygen when we exercise. Good to know that exercise is good for the brain.

7) Improves Energy Levels

More exercise actually means more consistent energy levels. Additionally, the better sleep helps the body to regulate energy levels as well. I always have more energy after I exercise.

8) Improves Confidence

If exercise leads to getting into better shape (and often it does even if that is not your end goal), then naturally confidence levels will rise. Exercise helps on all levels from body shape to appearance of skin.

9) Reach Your Potential

That’s right; exercise helps us reach our potential. Built Lean states, “You’re not at your best if you’re flabby and out of shape. Simply put, when you’re in great shape, you’re a better version of YOU, and this physical transformation can also help improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual state.”

Finally, Built Lean gave two more reasons to exercise: because we can all commit a couple of hours out of our 168 hour week and the author listed 30 reasons that should be good enough.

Clearly, exercise benefits on all levels. We feel better, look better, and are better. We live longer, healthier lives. We deal with physical, mental, and general health issues when we exercise. So what’s keep us now?

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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