I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of exercising. Before and during the actual process of exercising it can feel like someone is punching you in the gut while kicking your legs out from under you.
However, once it’s over I always feel incredibly energized, incredibly fit, and incredibly confident. I feel as though I could conquer anything.
There are several other benefits I have found with exercising that I want to share with you in this article. I’ll break it down into two categories: 1). Benefits that I have discovered through my own experience, and 2). Benefits that I have found through research that may be valuable to you.
So without much delay let’s get into it.
Benefits of Exercising From My Experience
1. Increased Productivity
This is the first one I want to get into for good reason.
Like me you may struggle with having focus, clarity, and operating effectively throughout your day.
When I first started exercising again back in 2016 I realized that every time after I finished exercising I would feel a sense of mental clarity. Somehow getting tasks done such as writing blog posts or making sales calls seem to flow naturally.
It created less mental strain and effort on my part.
When you’re focused on the task at hand you tend to spend less time on distraction, and hence can get more done in less time with less effort.
I have found that clarity also helps me in being more effective. When I don’t feel as though I am experiencing mental block, when my thoughts flow and I know exactly what to do, things seem to get done much faster.
I’m no physiologist, but if I had to make an educated guess I would say the reason is because exercising increases the blood circulation to the brain. This increased blood circulation also means that greater levels of oxygen are reaching the brain faster. This helps your brain to function more effectively, thus improving thinking.
This is why exercising can significantly help you in improving your productivity and be more efficient and effective with your daily tasks.
2. Increased Energy
This is a major one for me, and probably is the most evident in terms of seeing the benefits immediately after exercising.
One of the biggest struggles I had before I started exercising was that I would always feel tired and at times lazy. Even more so I would feel a constant state of tiredness throughout my day which affected my productivity.
When I started exercising more consistently I noticed immediately after I had a surge of energy. So much so that I would find it difficult to sit still after each routine.
As someone who had struggled with this I know for a fact exercising acts as a major energy boost for you. If you tend to feel tired all the time, then this is a great way for you to stay energized throughout your day.
3. Develops Self Confidence
I’ve already gone into great detail on the exact step by step process of how exercising can help to develop your self confidence.
The reason this is so is because when you do exercise it acts as a check mark that you have followed through on something you committed to. This in turn increases your self image (how you see yourself). Which then increase your self esteem (how you feel about yourself), and ultimately your self confidence (your belief about yourself).
4. Develops Self Discipline
Following up on the last point exercising also helps to develop greater self discipline.
In this case however it’s not so much the act of exercising that does the trick, it’s more the commitment of sticking with exercising that does.
When you commit to developing the discipline with exercising, you develop that mindset and that identity (who you believe you are and capable of). It then filters into other areas of your life as that new identity and mindset becomes a part of who you are.
So if you struggle to develop discipline in your life starting and sticking with a exercise routine is a great place to start to develop it.
5. Makes Me Feel Happy
One of the benefits I have found with exercising is that it helps to put me in a really good and really positive mood. I feel upbeat, I feel happy, and I feel like I want to smile with the world (weird I know).
I guess the most logical explanation for this is due to the fact that when we exercise it releases endorphins (the happy drug). Endorphins are hormones that are released which stimulates positive feelings in the brain.
WebMD.com states that endorphins trigger positive feelings in the body, that decreases our perception of pain, and stimulates our pleasure receptors. This is what creates the feel good positive feeling we experience after exercising.
It also significantly helps to reduce depression in patients.
6. Improves My Metabolism
Since I’ve started exercising I’ve realized how my body tends to break down what I eat much more quickly.
Before exercising typically when I eat I would feel really full after, and it would take hours for my food to digest. However, now that I exercise I notice that my food breaks down 75% faster. This is especially true when I eat right after exercising.
This also contributes to increased energy as the body now requires less energy to break down the foods I eat.
7. Improves My Breathing
The feeling of not breathing properly, or as some call it ‘short-of-breath’, happens when there isn’t enough oxygen being circulated through the blood in and out of our lungs.
I had this problem a lot before exercising. Though it didn’t stop me from functioning, I found at times I would struggle to take breaths, even when not doing any hectic tasks.
However, when I first started exercising I found that my breathing improved significantly and it became easier. I no longer felt as though I struggled to take breaths.
Due to the increased circulation that exercising creates, it allowed blood with oxygen to flow at a much more rapid pace. Thereby making it easier for me to take in deeper breaths. Also, it open up my lungs which increased the amounts of oxygen levels entering my lungs.
Benefits of Exercising From My Research
8. Improves Sleep
According Sleep.org a good workout can help you get a great shut-eye. They further say as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise such as walking or cycling can dramatically improve the quality of sleep. This is because exercising reduces stress. Also, it allows your body temperature to increase during exercise and drops after, which triggers sleep the article further says.
Further studies by scientists at Northwestern University found that those who exercised found that their sleep quality improved from poor to good, and also less likely to feel depressed.
I can’t say that I have found that exercising helps me to sleep better, because I hardly do sleep. Nor do I notice any difference in my sleeping patterns.
It’s not that I have trouble sleeping, it’s just that my brain is always firing away with thoughts, ideas, and things I want to get done. This makes it difficult for me to be in a place of calm mentally and sleep.
9. Positive Health Benefits
Based on my research there seems to be a strong connection to exercising and improved health, some that I wasn’t even aware existed.
Though there are many health benefits I’m only going to focus on a few of the more common ones we suffer from.
Let’s go through a few and how they benefit you.
A). Reduces blood pressure: hypertension is caused by having a high fat diet. Over time the fat builds up in our arteries making it difficult for blood to circulate throughout our bodies.
Exercising helps to increase the width of the arteries, basically opening them up more, so it allows the blood to flow more freely, reducing your blood pressure. It also helps in improving the strength of your heart muscles, thereby allowing the heart to pump blood with a stronger force.
B). Lowers Risk of Diabetes: This is our bodies inability to break down glucose (good sugar) that our body needs for energy and other uses. Exercising improves the body’s metabolic rate.
In less fancy scientific terms that just means that exercising improves the body’s ability to break down foods we consume at a much more rapid pace. This allows the glucose to then be broken down at a much more rapid pace, preventing it from being stored in excess in our bodies, which is what causes diabetes.
C). Improves our Immune System: Our immune system is that part of our bodies that helps to fight off diseases and illness. By exercising regularly it helps to strengthen our immune system, and allowing it to function at higher capacities, thus allowing it to fight diseases more rapidly caused by pathogens (really bad foreign things in our).
It not only helps with serious illnesses and diseases, but an improved immune system can also help to prevent common colds and flu as well.
D). Helps Ease Arthritis Pain: According to Medlineplus.gov Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, caused by the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage protects a joint and allows it to move smoothly, and absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, such as when you walk.
Exercising can help to strengthen the muscle around your joints and maintain bone strength, which helps to reduce arthritis pain.
E). Reduces Body Fat: This one seems pretty obvious and straightforward, as there is a direct link to exercise and weight loss.
The fat reduction in the body is because when we exercise it speeds up our metabolism, and so allows the body to burn off more calories, which reduces body fat (not muscle).
This is a huge benefit for those who struggle with obesity, and more importantly how that obesity leads to serious health conditions such as heart disease and heart attacks.
10. Improves Sex Life
From a bio-chemical perspective our desire or drive for sex are influenced by the estrogen and testosterone hormones in both men and women. Both are produce by the endocrine glands.
Exercising places a great demand for the endocrine gland to produce more hormones as a means to better regulate the body during and after a workout. Because of this increase demand and production of hormones, our sex drive (a.k.a. Libido) is increased as a by-product. In other words exercising makes you want to have sex more as your desire for sex is increased.
Not only that but I have found that the increase in energy and mood also makes the experience more enjoyable and long-lasting (for you gentlemen) during sex.
11. Lowers Feelings of Anxiety
There are several ways I have found that exercising reduces anxiety.
However one of the most fascinating I have found is a concept called Dynamic Running Therapy (DRT). The basic idea of it is “confronting difficult feelings and circumstances in your life through movement“. It’s about intentionally identifying your feelings about your current state of your life and what about it you wish to change.
Now I believe this may be a bit more challenging for some people for the simple fact that confronting difficult feelings and situations makes most people uncomfortable, so it may be counterproductive (but that’s just my opinion).
What my experience has taught me is that exercising helps me relieve stress and anxiety by putting me in a more relaxed and at times empowered state. This empowered state often makes me feel that I am in control and able to shape and create my life and destiny as I choose.
I have found that anxiety is usually caused by a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness in life and situations. This feeling of empowerment helps to regain that feeling of hope and control (at least for me, maybe for you too).
12. Improves Memory
Finally, according to Harvard Health Publication exercising regularly changes the brain to improve memory and thinking skills.
This is done through the brain stimulating cell growth, increasing the size of the hippocampus, which is the area responsible for memory and learning.
Additionally, it helps in increased development of the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for planning and reasoning.
Maybe there is some relation to this and productivity. As I’ve mentioned exercising helps me to be more productive by increasing my level of clarity and focus.
For a structured plan to help you stick with your exercise routine I’m putting together a free guide that can help.
Enter your name and email in the form below to be placed on the list. As soon as it is finished you will be sent it via email.
Join the LWFG list
This will place you on the waiting list to receive the ebook
OTHER POSTS IN LWFG SERIES