Exercising is good for you – no surprise there. The benefits of exercise are amazing. It makes you healthier, less susceptible to disease, and other good things.
But wait… there’s more!
There are also less obvious, less physical, benefits of exercising. The stuff that you don’t always think about when you’re not exercising regularly, but you definitely notice once you are.
This is not going to be a science-heavy post with data to back up every point I make. Frankly, because that would be boring. But I promise I’m not making stuff up here.
Anyway, like with anything you read on the internet, feel free to fact check (Google) any of the points below until the cows come home (and you’re satisfied).
Enough with the disclaimers already, let’s get at it.
The Non-Physical Benefits of Exercising
Boosts Your Mood and Fights Depression
I know, getting to the gym or going on a run can be a struggle sometimes. You usually have to get up early, or get home late, and exert some effort (beyond the effort in the gym) to make it happen.
But have you ever heard someone say, “man, I really wish I hadn’t gone to the gym today.”?
No, probably not. Because once you go to the gym, you feel good.
But not just physically good – as the name of this article gives away. Exercise is good for your mood. It can help fight depression. And, it can also help you build new relationships with the people around you.
Just google “study on exercise and depression” and you’ll see what I’m (and Harvard, and Duke, and others are) talking about.
On that note, exercising can also help decrease stress. Which, usually, will help put you in a better mood. Unless you like being stressed out..?
This is because when you are working out and are active, your body generates endorphins. Endorphins are the fun things behind the common phrase “runner’s high” and are what make you feel good when you’re active!
These endorphins usually stick around for a while once your done working out and keep you feeling good and de-stressed for some time.
Helps You Sleep Better
Exercising helps you sleep because exercising makes you tired. That’s my simple understanding of it anyway.
Look, in my opinion, we (humans) were not made to sit around all day. I’m looking at you, white-collar worker.
We were made to move, to walk, and to exert energy. If we don’t exert any energy throughout the day then we never become tired. Which is likely a reason that people struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
There are a lot of “fun” facts out there on sleep – including how 9 million Americans are using sleep medication and only one-third of Americans are getting the recommended 7-9 hours per night. Exercising may help you be more tired at night and help you sleep through the night without the added help.
Better Self Esteem
It’s no surprise that exercising can make you look and feel good. Just pick up an issue of Men’s Health or Women’s Health and you’ll see what I mean.
Actually, that’s not the best example. No one can really hold themselves to the standards of celebrities and athletes in photoshopped magazines.
The point I’m trying to make is that exercising can make you feel good about your body, in a lot of ways. And feeling strong and good about yourself can lead to better self-esteem and more confidence.
Beyond that, when exercising you usually set small goals for yourself – and hopefully, accomplish them. Like lifting 5 more pounds or running a mile a few seconds faster. Accomplishing goals will make anyone feel good, and certainly will boost your self-esteem as well.
Builds Good Habits that Carry Over
Exercising can also help you build good habits. Exercising takes discipline, and this discipline can carry over into other aspects of your life. Like work, family, investing in your retirement, and many other things.
By improving one habit in your life (exercising), you can increase the chances of you improving habits in other aspects of your life as well. Because now you have a playbook on how to make it happen!
Give You More Energy
Over time, exercising has the ability to boost your energy.
Exercising makes you stronger. So sure, while the first couple times to the gym you might be exhausted, over time you’ll feel less and less tired. And as you get stronger and increase your endurance, the rest of your everyday tasks will become easier and easier. Giving you the energy to get through your day faster and better than ever!
What would you be doing instead of going to the gym? Sitting at home watching TV? Maybe reading a book? Online shopping with a new credit card?
Enjoying yourself is a good thing, and there’s nothing wrong with relaxing once a while. But exercising can be a great way to meet people and socialize – if you’re into that.
This is especially true if you are opting for a group class or group exercise of some kind. So many people around to socialize with!
Group exercise doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Check local Facebook groups or community bulletins and join a running or walking group. There are plenty of affordable options out there to take advantage of.
The physical benefits are reason enough to start exercising! Throw in some of these non-physical benefits and it’s a no-brainer.
Kevin runs the personal finance website Just Start Investing, where he focuses on making investing easy. Just Start Investing has been featured on Business Insider, Forbes, and US News & World Report, among other major publications for his easy-to-follow writing. Check out Just Start Investing to learn the simple strategies to start investing today, as well as ways to optimize your credit cards, banking, and budget.