5 Surprising Benefits of Exercise

This is that time of year when most people try to sheepishly “forget” about their New Year’s resolutions because they’re not making any progress.  However, if exercising more was one of your goals for the new year, we have some information that is going to make it easier for you to get excited and motivated about your resolution again.  Keep reading to learn more about the unexpected benefits of exercise.

  1. Exercise Reduces the Effects of Stress.  Exercise doesn’t just increase our levels of “good” chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, it also can reverse stress’ toll on the aging process, says U.S. News & World Report.  According to a 2010 study, researchers found that stressed women who exercised vigorously had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to stressed, inactive women.

  2. Exercise Increases Productivity.  While it might seem that squeezing in exercise would cut down on productivity, that isn’t the case.  Research shows that workers who exercise regularly are more productive and energetic than their more sedentary peers.

  3. Exercise Boosts Creativity.  Research indicates that aerobic activity increases creativity for as long as 2 hours after a workout.  To amp up your stream of creative ideas, try working out in nature—a brisk walk outdoors may just offer the inspiration you’re looking for.

  4. Exercise Improves Sleep.  While it might seem counterintuitive to imagine that exercise actually improves sleep, it’s true.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.”  Just make sure not to engage in heart-pounding activity too close to bedtime or exercise may have the opposite effect.

  5. Exercise Can Help Arthritis.  You might imagine that arthritis sufferers should minimize movement to reduce pain.  Not so, research shows.  According to the CDC, doing about 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, low-impact aerobic activity can improve pain management and the quality of life for those who have arthritis.