The people who are getting up off the couch, putting on their gym clothes, and getting down to some serious exercise might be benefitting more from their workout than you might think. While the health benefits of taking a trip to the gym have long been understood, new research is showing time and time again that working out does much more than just keep us fit and toned. Below, we take a look at seven of the awesome side-effects of hitting the gym. If you need an extra dose of motivation to dust off the old running shoes, this might be it.
It Can Help You Stop Smoking
There’s been an effective anti-smoking agenda pushed on society over the past couple of decades, and it's done wonders for reducing the number of smokers. There are still a few resiliently puffing away, however, and not because they don’t want to quit - because they can’t quit. Instead of relying on willpower, those people should try exercising. Working out reduces the nicotine withdrawal symptoms, fills the void of time they’d usually spend smoking, and makes people more aware of the harm they’re doing their body.
And Helps You Beat Other Addictions, Too
It’s not just smoking that exercise can help overcome, either; it can help people overcome other substances, such as alcohol and drugs, too. The facts about addiction do not make for pretty reading: it’s more powerful than people think, it leads to bad decisions (a negative loop that can be hard to escape from), and it can be difficult - or impossible - to overcome without a significant lifestyle change. Working out brings a person’s dopamine balance back to its natural level, and creates a routine, two crucial factors in getting clean.
You’ll Be Nicer To Be Around
Working out should be a requirement for people who have stress-jobs. If we’re overworked, tired, and have no outlet for our pent up aggression, we’re much more likely to take out our anger on those around us. By spending some time each day exercising, we’ll be calmer and more relaxed. So don’t start working out just for you: do it for those you love, too.
You’ll Work Harder
Those only so much inspiration you can draw when you’re sitting in front of a computer screen. Spend eight hours typing in an office, and you’ll invariably leave feeling tired and mentally drained at the end of the day. Conversely, hit the gym and you’ll notice something surprising when you return home: you’ll have bags of energy, and feel inspired to do good things. There’s a strong correlation between the productivity of a person and how much they work out. Those who hit the gym achieve more than those who just go home to watch TV at the end of the day.
Harder Workout, Smarter Mind
Your body will be feeling great, but your mind? It’s true. Scientists have shown that exercising can have a significant impact on our brain, as it creates new brain cells, boosts our memory capabilities, and helps us make better decisions. As well as becoming buff, you’ll be making yourself smarter in the process.
There are many people out there who join a gym, visit once or twice, and then never go again. How do you think those people get on with the other projects in their life that they start? If you incorporate an exercise routine into your schedule and then see it through, you’ll be much more likely to follow through on the other things in life you plan. Just by deciding to start exercise, you’ll be setting a goal. It’s up to you whether you achieve that goal or not.
Happy Happy Happy
In this hyper fast, overworked culture of ours, it’s no coincidence that there are more people than ever suffering from depression. While the causes of depression are still not fully understood, scientists have identified a few things that can help keep the symptoms of the illness at bay. Two of these are exercise, and being outdoors. You’ll be getting your full dose of happy chemicals flowing through your brain, and if you exercise outdoors, you’ll also be getting your daily dose of sunshine. Happy, smart, and looking good: is there anything exercise can’t do?
Some people think that going to the gym or working out is all part of a broader vanity project, but that simply isn’t true. Whether it’s to overcome obstacles, improve as a person, or become happier, exercise has a benefit for everybody, no matter how old or young they are.