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13 Reasons to Workout That Don't Have to Do With Losing Weight

If you need more motivation to hit the gym, look no further than this list. Let's look at how exercise benefits your body and mind.

Of course, most people are motivated to exercise because they want to have a certain body, but the benefits of exercise extend far beyond looking great in a swimsuit.

Reduces Stress

Regular exercise reduces your levels of the stress hormones cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline, while simultaneously raising your levels of serotonin, the hormone known to bring happiness.

Helps You Have a Healthy Heart

Regular exercise ups your HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) and also lowers your triglycerides, which ultimately keeps your ticker strong. Exercising regularly will help you lower your risk of heart disease, the number one cause of death among all Americans.

Improves Sleep

A recent meta-analysis that evaluated a host of sleep studies divulged that people who exercise on a regular basis enjoyed a better quality of sleep and experienced insomnia less frequently. Getting better sleep, in turn, amps up your immune system combats inflammation, improves your memory, and repairs damage to your body’s cells.

Cultivates Creativity

A recent study, published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, discovered that people who regularly exercised (walked) boosted divergent thought processes (contemplating several solutions to one specific problem) and convergent thought processes (coming up with a single solution to a problem)--two types of thinking that augment creativity.

Make You Smarter?

A meta-analysis of exercise’s effects on the brain revealed that it enhances your memory, increases your brain volume, improves your reading skills, and bolsters cognition.

Eases Allergy Symptoms

According to scientists in Thailand, their study participants were able to decrease itching, sneezing, runny nose, and sinus and chest congestion by nearly 90 percent after completing 30 minutes of running. Now that’s nothing to sneeze at!

Helps You Avoid Alzheimer’s

A handful of studies have shown that regular exercise can help you avoid cognitive impairment later in life.

Eases PMS

Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise can lessen pesky PMS, particularly the feelings of depression and anger. Aim for three 60-minute aerobic sweat-sessions a week to ease PMS.

Leads to a Longer Life

Research has uncovered the secret to a long life: regular exercise! Regardless of your weight, exercise can dramatically cut your risk of dying early from ailments like cancer and heart disease. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research has found that individuals who exercise approximately seven hours per week — that’s just one hour per day — have a 40 percent lower risk of dying prematurely than individuals who exercise for fewer than 30 minutes per week.

Even better news: you do not have to exercise vigorously or for very long periods of time to enjoy the leap up in longevity. You can reduce your risk of dying prematurely by simply performing some type of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 150 minutes a week (around 21 minutes per day).

Bolsters Bone Health

As you get older, you naturally start to progressively lose bone mineral density. Exercising can help slow the loss of bone mineral density (although it is definitely important to get plenty of calcium and vitamin D before age 30 to build up strong bones). Various types of exercise, including aerobic exercise, strength conditioning, and flexibility training, can all help prevent osteoporosis, thinning of your bones, and risk of fractures, particularly of the wrist, spine, and hip.

Cuts Cancer Risk

Being physically active definitely, reduces your risk of colon cancer and breast cancer, and could possibly lower your risk of developing lung cancer and endometrial cancer. In addition to helping you avoid getting cancer to begin with, exercise lowers your risk of dying from cancer and having a cancer recurrence. Exercise is thought to bolster your immune system to better detect and kill cancerous cells, improve your cardiorespiratory status, help you maintain a healthy weight, and promote a favorable hormone pattern, along with conferring numerous other helpful metabolic effects.

Brings a Better Belly

No, I’m not talking about getting six-pack abs (although exercise can certainly help you achieve that goal too). I’m talking about improving your digestive health. Regular exercise not only helps prevent constipation and promotes a healthy gut microbiota by increasing diversity of the bacterial composition, research has shown it helps thwart diverticular disease and colon cancer. Imbalances in your gut microbiota have also been correlated with irritable bowel disease (IBD), autism, and obesity.

Gives You Glowing Skin

Want to get that J. Lo glow? Hit the gym (or the pavement) for vibrant, healthy skin. Exercise increases blood flow and reduces stress hormones, and this helps prevent inflammation of the skin. Improved circulation carries oxygen and other beneficial nutrients to your skin’s surface and hauls away damaging waste products such as free radicals.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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