We all know one of the main benefits of exercise – it can help you lose weight, and then sustain that. But did you know that it has quite a few other benefits that can make you look and feel fantastic?
Brain Power Boost
Not only does exercise have benefits for your body, it has benefits for your mind too. Exercise helps prevent a physical decline of your brain (one that starts in your 20s!) by helping boost neurogenesis – basically, it helps your brain build new cells. Studies show that exercise can reduce to risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but this is definitely the sort of thing you want to stop before it starts! Adding a little exercise to your daily routine now can help you out in later life. But what about the now? Well, even a little bit of exercise each day can help boost this ‘neurogenesis’. A really tough workout can increase levels of a particular protein (BDNF, for the curious) which helps with learning and decision making – great for a quick boost. If you find yourself getting foggy-brained, forgetful or a little spaced out, try exercising. It’s a fantastic way to feel more mentally switched on and at the top of your game.
We all know that you always look better when you feel good – a smile can make a huge difference. Given that doctors prescribe exercise for mild forms of depression, you know it makes a huge difference. The science behind this is pretty simple – exercise releases endorphins, the key chemical component of happiness. You don’t even need to do a lot of work to get these benefits, with just thirty minutes of light exercise a day being enough to get your endorphins up and your sadness down. Why not swap a drive a day for a walk, or get yourself a set of small weights? If you start feeling down, or even just a little bored, spend a little bit of time working out and you’ll soon notice the difference. Give yourself an extra bonus here by making sure you’re getting lots of vegetarian omega 3 in your diet – flax seeds are a great place to start. Plus, taking vegetarian omega 3 regularly will help with the brain power boost too!
One way to make a huge difference to the way you look – other than losing weight – is to improve your posture. How often have you seen people slumped forward and thought how much it drags them down? Exercise – in particular, forms of exercise such as yoga or pilates – can help you improve your posture, causing you to stand up straight, keep your shoulders back and your chin high. Not only will this make you look better, it’ll boost your confidence too, making sure you feel fantastic.
We’ve all heard it said that confidence is one of the most attractive traits. If you’re a little shy or feeling down on yourself, exercise is the key. Not because it can help you change what you look like (though it can), but because it can help change your perception of what you look like. If you feel fit and healthy, you’ll feel more confident in yourself. Studies show that exercise can boost self-worth and what’s sexier than someone who knows their own value?
Being tired can be one of the biggest drains – both on your mood and your looks. It may seem counter-intuitive to suggest that exercising more can leave you less tired, but it’s true. Whilst you’ll feel tired after a workout (so maybe don’t schedule them in right before you’re meeting people), you’ll also sleep better in general, meaning your mornings won’t drag you down nearly as much. A study of around 2,600 people found that exercising for just over two hours a week increased their sleep quality by 65 percent! That’s a huge difference, and one you should definitely take advantage of.