We all want to look and feel good naked, right? For most of us that is the very thing that first got us started on a health and fitness journey. You know, achieving that dream body, feeling confident in your skin, looking good full monty. I mean there is also the whole ‘getting fit’ and ‘being healthy’ aspect to it too, but mostly we want to achieve HOT status! Well here’s a *NEWSFLASH* for you – working out and eating well isn’t just about getting a bangn’ beach bod. There is an abundance of other benefits that comes with it too; all of which make the whole ‘healthy living’ thing that much more worthwhile.
If I am to be completely honest, looking good when my clothes are off (and on for that matter), is probably 99% of my motivation when it comes to exercising and eating well. Like almost everyone else, that is why I started and why I still remain committed to the cause. That being said, although it was initially motivated by physical aesthetic, regular exercise is now part of my daily routine because quite frankly, it makes me feel amazing! It is something I do consistently to keep me sane and to make me happy. It’s almost like meditation for me. It is my designated ‘me time’. Ironically, completely exhausting myself is the most relaxing part of my day. I honestly don’t feel like myself without my daily dose of endorphins. Exercise for me, has become about achieving an overall feeling of positive wellbeing, not just looking the part.
Below are some of the many other reasons why exercise is great for so much more than just looking good naked.
1. Exercise Reduces Stress: At the end of a long and stressful day, believe it or not, exercise is your friend. It might be the last thing you feel like doing (especially when bed and Netflix is calling your name), but working up a sweat is a massive stress reliever that’ll have you feeling amazing in no time. Working out helps to manage physical and mental stress because it increases the amount of norepinephrine in your brain.
2. Eases Anxiety: By exercising, you can also reduce symptoms of anxiety. The chemicals your brain releases before or after exercise can help you calm down. It’s no wonder I start to feel like I am loosing my sanity if I don’t exercise for a couple of days.
3. Boosts Your Mood: Exercise makes you happy. Well, it certainly does for me and there is actually proof to this claim as well. You have probably heard about the feel-good hormones known as endorphins. Well these little guys are released in the brain during exercise, which leads to feelings of happiness. And happiness is just the best! In fact, studies have shown that exercise can help elevate symptoms of depression in clinically depressed individuals. Pretty cool.
4. Increases Your Energy Levels: It sounds crazy but exerting energy with a killer workout actually increases your energy levels. The days when I wake up an hour earlier to exercise before work, I actually have way more energy throughout the day than when I don’t. Not to mention that endorphin hit puts you in the best mood for the rest of the day.
5. Improves Self-confidence: The more you workout, the better you eat and the better you feel. Then you start to notices changes and you start to feel more confident. When you do things that make your body feel good, you start feeling good about yourself as well. Just knowing you are taking positive steps to live a healthier lifestyle and increase your fitness is enough to boost your self-image.
6. Exercise Helps With Creativity and Increases Productivity: Did you know that working out can increase your brain activity for up to two hours post-workout? Well you do now. I for one feel most productive after exercising. It’s like all my creative energy explodes, all my inspiration and momentum to ‘get s**t done’ comes to life. So the next time you need some inspiration or can’t seem to escape the procrastinating zone, try lacing up your sneakers and hitting the gym.
7. Boosts Brain Function: As we get older, our brain starts to slow down but with daily exercise you can decrease the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and other types of cognitive decline. Cardiovascular exercise also creates new brain cells, which improves our overall brain function and performance.
8. Helps Control Addictions: When you exercise, your brain releases a reward chemical, which is similar to the reward chemical that you feel in response to sex, drug and even food. This is where addictions can come into play, as people can become addicted to dopamine. Luckily, exercise also releases dopamine – and working out is something worth getting addicted to.
So in a nutshell, working out and eating healthy is equally important for our mental health, wellbeing and overall happiness, as it is for our physical health. It’s not all about looking good naked… that is just a bonus.
Love Eloise x