The new year has begun, and for many of us, getting in shape is a resolution we’re determined to keep. It may not be easy to fit a workout into your already busy schedule, however. You’ve got work, family and friends to keep up with. Plus you have to squeeze in a meal three times a day. Whether you plan on visiting the gym or simply working out in your own home or around the neighbourhood, there are several benefits to putting in a bit of exercise time you may not even be thinking about.
No, we’re not talking about creating a healthy body or looking your best, though these are excellent reasons to and benefits of working out. There are plenty of other, somewhat surprising, advantages to lifting a few weights or putting in a run before work you may not have even considered.
Benefits of Working Out
- Increase of Dopamine and Serotonin- These naturally occurring hormones in your brain may not seem significant, but they can greatly affect your day. Exercise naturally increases the amount of these hormones in your body, which can lead to an elevated mood, improved sense of wellness and an easier time sleeping. For many men struggling with mental health issues these days, the cost of a gym membership is greatly less than the cost of a therapist, and many men feel much better after just 30 minutes of running or 15 minutes of some other high-intensity exercise. Just imagine how much easier your morning meetings would be if you had slept better the night before or had an improved mood when you went into work. Even less intense exercises, ideal for individuals with limitations or injuries, such as yoga and pilates, have been shown to boost GABA, a brain chemical that increases mood and lowers anxiety levels.
- You Get to Buy New Clothes- Exercise leads to losing weight and dropping sizes. This can not only be beneficial to your looks, but can also mean you get to throw out all those too-big suits and tweed jackets you used to wear and buy new ones. Who doesn’t love an overhaul of their closet? Purchase the men’s suits you’ve loved in the past in a few sizes smaller or experiment with new colours and patterns that really accentuate your new figure. Don’t forget other items, like shirts, knitwear and accessories that may need replaced as well. Getting out there and exercising is more than just losing weight, it’s an excuse to go shopping.
- You’re Protecting Your Future- Let’s play a game. Can you name four medical conditions that result from being overweight? Many studies have shown that overeating and being overweight can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and so much more. Getting control of your body through exercise and a healthy diet now can help you stave off diseases like this. Isn’t your future worth lacing up your trainers for a few minutes a day?
- Increased Blood Flow- Every wonder why individuals that keep themselves in excellent shape look so good? It isn’t just those six pack abs. It’s the increased blood flow that occurs during exercise. This blood travels to every organ, including the skin. Here, it encourages the production of the protein collagen, which makes up about 70 percent of the skin’s protein. The more collagen, the healthy and more glowing your skin looks.
- A Quieter Sleep- Does your partner complain that she can’t sleep through the night because your snoring is so loud and obnoxious? You aren’t the only one dealing with this. Millions of men and women both have snoring issues. Studies have shown, however, that your snoring may actually be related to your weight. According to a study by the University of Eastern Finland, just a five percent loss in weight can greatly relieve sleep apnea, which often causes snoring. This is because there is less weight around your throat and less of a chance of your fat constricting it during the night.
- You’re More Likely to be in the Mood- Perhaps the most surprising effect of exercise, specifically related to lifting weights, is the improved production of testosterone, a natural male hormone that increases a man’s confidence and his sex drive. This newfound vigour is an important aspect of your overall mental health. Regular activity also helps improve your strength and endurance. One study also showed that exercising for a minimum 180 minutes per week can help improve erectile function and decrease the chances of sexual dysfunction prior to it starting.
Aren’t quite convinced that making exercise a big part of your new year is important? While you may enjoy the idea of buying new men’s tweed jackets and suits, eliminating snoring and increasing your virility, another big benefit that may sway you is enhanced memory. Because, let’s face it: your brain is one of the most vital parts of your body. As you get older, you don’t want to feel memories of your childhood floating away. You don’t want to upset your significant other when you forget that today was indeed the 15th anniversary of your first kiss. You don’t want to miss the chance to impress your boss with last week’s numbers.
Exercise can help. Regular workouts help increase energy and adrenaline levels while you exercise. This encourages the hippocampus to increase and generate new brain cells. When you exercise regularly, the size of the anterior hippocampus also increases. The result? Improved recall skills that will help you improve your relationships and your job.
Make the most of this new year and create a new, inspiring you. Commit to an exercise program and watch the stones melt away while you enjoy many other benefits, including increased recall skills, lower chances of heart disease and diabetes, improved sleep and less snoring. Once you shed some weight, take advantage of your new figure and invest in a new wardrobe of stunning men’s suits, trousers, dress shirts and tweed jackets that suit your new body.