3 ways exercise benefits you beyond fitness


Here are three ways that regular exercise will improve your life beyond just making you physically fit.

When someone asks you, "Why is fitness important to you?" you might respond by saying that you want to look good and keep excess weight off. These are great goals, and they are a very clear-cut benefit of working out, but there are other, less obvious advantages to regular exercise. Here are three ways that regular exercise will improve your life beyond just making you physically fit:

1. Regulates blood sugar and reduces the risk of disease

One of the most common afflictions that befall inactive people is diabetes, caused by irregular levels of blood sugar. In an interview with WebMD, John Thyfault, PhD, said that exercise is a foundational element of a disease-free life. In one study he performed, Thyfault fed mice a high-fat diet. He found that because the mice exercised regularly, they failed to develop any blood diseases even though their diets were poor. Eating a good diet is critical, but activity is what truly prevents most life-threatening diseases.

2. Enhances your mood

According to the American Psychological Association, there is a mountain of evidence that exercise alleviates both short- and long-term depression. A study by James Blumenthal, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke University, found that regular exercise was just as effective at treating clinically diagnosed depression as antidepressant medication. The APA noted that even after five minutes of moderate exercise, you'll feel a mood-lifting effect.

3. Encourages socialization

The fitness blog Breaking Muscle cited research that showed that playing team sports not only improved people's moods, it also resulted in increased socialization. Even just going to a gym is likely to put you in a position to meet new like-minded people that you'll develop bonds with. Simply put, exercise gets you out of the house and having fun with friends.

Fitness is a worthy goal in and of itself, but the side effects are equally as uplifting.

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