Why You Should be Working Out: The Benefits of Exercise
JenniferM | On 26, Mar 2012
After engaging in regular workouts over the past 12 weeks (working out 6 days out of 7 every week), I realized something. Well, I realized quite a few things, but one of the bigger things I’ve noticed is that too little emphasis is put on exercise being
an important part of a clean eating lifestyle. I understand the mantra is 80/10/10: how our bodies look is 80% what we’re eating, 10% exercise and 10% genetics. However, many people who start eating clean have goals, whether their goal is weight loss, feeling better, looking better or just living a healthier lifestyle, and exercise helps tremendously with all of those things. There are so many other benefits of exercise that it makes no sense to me why more emphasis isn’t given to it.
In addition to getting my body toned up quickly, the following benefits are those I have found out for myself over the past 12 weeks and also results of a variety of studies.
Benefits of Exercise
In addition to making your body look better, exercise can:
Reduce anxiety levels: one of the biggest benefits I’ve felt from regular workouts is reduced anxiety. I was actually surprised by this because have suffered from GAD for the past 7 years. The first two years I took medication, but stopped 5 years ago and haven’t found a solid way to keep my anxiety under control…until now. I rarely, if ever, experience anxiety any longer. And this isn’t just anecdotal evidence. Several studies have shown a reduction in anxiety levels with regular physical activity.
Promote better sleep: I used to stay up many a night, well into the early morning hours, because my mind just wouldn’t shut down, especially during those times of the month when I experienced PMS. Again, better sleep is well linked scientifically to regular exercise.
Lessen PMS symptoms: speaking of PMS, I have had a noticeable decrease of PMS symptoms, specifically bloating. Before engaging in regular and frequent workouts, I would suffer horribly from bloating right before my cycle. I’m talking a gain of 5 to 7 lbs. of water weight almost overnight that would NOT go away until I started my cycle and then it would magically disappear. It drove me crazy! Now? I gain maybe a pound or two and it really depends on my sodium intake. If I watch my sodium intake and my water intake, no water weight gain.
Increase energy: we all lead busy lives, so who doesn’t need to keep their energy levels up all day? I have so much more energy from working out. I have noticed, too, that if I work out in the morning, soon after I get up, my energy stays incredibly high all day. It’s almost like I’ve been drinking caffeinated coffee all day!
Other well-known benefits of regular exercise include: clearer skin, better ability to handle stress, improved mood and reduced risk of developing certain diseases and chronic illnesses.
And don’t worry, I am NOT promoting working out hours every day. I don’t have that kind of time and neither do you and it’s really not necessary in order to see and feel the benefits of exercise. If you’re not including regular physical activity in your clean eating lifestyle, start small and work up to longer workouts. Even a brisk 10-minute walk is enough to boost your energy and improve your mood. Try it and see!