OK, we know that many people get their motivation to work out from wanting to achieve a certain look.
But exercise can do way more for you than that.
First things first, it’s totally cool if you want to lose weight. In fact, if that’s your goal, here’s some great info on how to burn more calories in your next workout, how to lose actual body fat, and a few weight-loss tips that will actually get you results.
But for those of you who have no interest in shedding pounds, we rounded up some amazing reasons why exercise is one of the best things you can do every day to improve your mental health, physical health, and overall quality of life.
All right, let’s get into it!
1. Working out actually releases hormones that can make you feel confident AF.
Regardless of what exercise does for you in the long term, it can also give you a huge self-confidence boost in the short term. “Working out releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones,” Marie Schlatter, group fitness instructor at 305 Fitness D.C., tells BuzzFeed Life. “And when you look good, you feel good.”
2. It can also seriously up your sex game.
Research shows that there’s a link between regular exercise and better cardiovascular health and blood circulation, which is crucial for sexual functioning. Plus, researchers say that exercising can increase arousal, at least in studies where they measured genital responses.
All these benefits, paired with your improved endurance and strength, can mean a lot more satisfaction.
3. And it can intensify your orgasms.
When you orgasm, your pelvic floor muscles contract, and strengthening those muscles can make the sensation feel deeper and last longer. As BuzzFeed Life previously reported, doing exercises like squats and glute bridges will strengthen your glutes, which pull the sacrum outward (the bone that supports the spine and pelvis), while doing kegels (where you contract your pelvic floor muscles) pull the sacrum inward. Honing in on these muscles can mean better bladder control and better orgasms.
FYI: Everyone can do kegels. If you have a vagina, you do it by contracting the muscles you would use to stop pee midstream. If you have a penis, you do it by contracting the perineal muscles (between your genitals and your anus).
4. It actually gives you even more energy.
Usually we think that working out costs energy, but you’ll probably find that the opposite is true, Rob Sulaver, CSCS, personal trainer and founder of Bandana Training, tells BuzzFeed Life. Even a quick workout can leave you feeling energized and super-productive, which can help you at work and at home, he says. Win win.
5. When you accomplish your exercise goals, you get better at life.
Committing to — and crushing — a personal goal makes you strive to keep that streak going. Even if that goal is just running a mile or working out for 15 minutes today.
Ian Richardson, a certified personal trainer with SLT NYC, tells BuzzFeed Life that knocking out fitness goals one by one makes him feel like he’s growing as a person all the time. “I know that no matter how my day has been, the energy that I devote to my body will only make me a stronger man,” he says. “At the end of the day, I know that I have moved forward in my life, making me being a better friend, boyfriend, and individual.”
7. It makes you feel like a freaking superhero (mentally and physically).
You will pretty much always feel stronger after lifting weights, Jessi Kneeland, NASM, of ReModel Fitness, tells BuzzFeed Life. “You instantly become more confident, mentally sharper, more energized, and more likely to take risks,” she says. “This boost is temporary, but by lifting on a consistent basis, you can increase these qualities in a long-term way as well.”
8. Exercise toughens up your body from the inside out.
According to the CDC, getting regular exercise not only toughens up your body by strengthening your bones and muscles, but it also reduces your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and lung cancer, and it increases your overall chances of living longer.
9. It makes you push your body to do badass things you didn’t even know you were capable of.
Taking up the right type of exercise will show you that there’s limit to what your body can do, Erica Giovinazzo, MS RD, head coach and nutritionist at Brick CrossFit, tells BuzzFeed Life. “For me, CrossFit gave me the chance to be energetic, athletic, and competitive.” she says. “I finally felt good about my body, and above all, it taught me that my body is much more capable than I ever thought possible.”
10. It forces you to get your ass off the couch and outside.
Even if you’re a strictly indoor person most of the time, exercising can motivate you to spend some time moving around outside, which can actually be really fun, Alycea Ungaro, founder and owner of Real Pilates, tells BuzzFeed Life. “The fresh air and daylight are natural wakening agents and mood stabilizers, and a few deep inhales get oxygen to the blood and energize your whole system.”
11. It acts as a mood-boosting antidepressant that can also help you calm way down.
Many studies have shown that getting regular exercise not only has the potential to boost your current mood, it may also help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
And it doesn’t even have to be super-high intensity; according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a simple walk — whether it’s for 10 minutes or 45 minutes — can offer some relief from stress and anxiety for many people.
12. It helps you chill out and actually get some fucking sleep.
Studies show that over time, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise — walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, etc. — could improve your overall quality of sleep, helping you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer, and get better-quality sleep.
13. It makes you want to take up other healthy habits.
One of the best parts about working out is seeing and feeling the results — in your mood, your energy, your productivity, etc. — and that can really motivate you to try to get similar results in other areas of your life, whether it’s practicing better eating habits, giving up smoking, drinking less alcohol, or spending more time outdoors.
14. But most important, it improves your overall quality of life, well-being, and happiness.
When it comes to starting up a fitness plan, big-picture goals like this are super important. “If the exerciser can focus on all of the positives that come from exercise like stress reduction, extra energy, and overall wellness, and not just the weight loss, that too will come naturally,” Beth Lewis, a lead instructor at CityRow, tells BuzzFeed Life. “By focusing on the larger picture, the smaller things will fall into place organically. Choose an activity that is fun and sustainable and set yourself up for success for the long term.”
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