Top 11 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

Top 11 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

Need some motivation to exercise more in the new year? If so, you’re not alone. New year’s resolutions rarely stick. And if exercising more is your primary resolution for the new year, I’d like to help that resolution play out so that this can be your healthiest year to date. Why not? We all want to improve and evolve. Taking our exercise routine to the next level is one tried and true way to do just that. 

In order to do so, let’s take a look at the top 10 scientifically proven health benefits of regular exercise. 

You will sleep better

Good sleep and daily exercise are like two peas in a pod. You typically can’t have one without the other. The more you exercise, the better you’re likely to sleep. And the more you sleep, the better your workouts tend to go. It’s a vicious cycle. In a good way. The opposite also holds true. Bad sleep leads to lack of motivation and poorer exercise habits. Poor exercise habits lead to poor sleep. 

So, what kind of exercise is best for maintaining healthy sleep habits? The answer—all kinds! It’s a scientific fact that regular aerobic exercise improves sleep quality, as this study shows. And this study, published in Mental Health and Physical Activity found that you may improve your sleep by 65% just by exercising 150 minutes per week.

Most of us are familiar with long bouts of aerobic exercise as a natural tonic necessary for good sleep. But, what about strength training? New research suggests that once you up your strength training game, your sleep game will also get a boost. Any type of exercise that builds muscles will do. You may want to use free weights, practice Pilates, learn how to use kettlebells, or simply put together an exercise routine that integrates squats, pushups, etc. 

woman lifting black and gray barbell

You will lose weight

My partner lost over two hundred pounds simply by making two major changes to his lifestyle. You can probably guess which two changes those are. If you guessed diet and exercise you’d be right. He started to eat a whole foods diet and eliminated gluten and sugar. Then, he got rid of his car and started using his legs to get from point A to point B. Walking and biking were (and still are) his primary means of transportation. And the same goes for myself. He also started doing yoga and Pilates. If you start exercising more, you will lose weight. As long as your diet improves as well, because the two go inextricably hand in hand. So, how does this work? One reason you lose weight with exercise is because metabolism improves, as this study shows. 

You will feel more self-confident

Being overweight, or God forbid obese, takes a major toll on one’s self-esteem and self-confidence. There comes a time when you look in the mirror and say enough’s enough! Once you begin exercising on a regular basis, you will see positive changes. You’ll feel intrinsically better about yourself, and your self-confidence and self-esteem will shine bright once again. To anyone who’s feeling less than great about themselves, I suggest beginning a a daily exercise routine you’re guaranteed to stick to. Craft a range of movement activities that best fits your personality. Maybe start that dance class you’ve always thought of doing. Or start walking and biking everywhere like I do. Get creative, and you’re sure to experience a boost in healthy self-confidence!

You’ll be happier

Exercise boosts your mood. Simply put, a regular exercise routine—one that gets your heart pumping and your muscles working—will make you happier. If you’re prone to depression and anxiety, you definitely need to upgrade your workouts. This study, published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, as well as the many studies listed below it, make a really good case for the positive impact regular exercise has on your mood. Because we’re all different, one person may only need 20 minutes of burst training to feel good on a given day, whereas another will need to bicycle 40-50 miles in a given day to feel at peace. 

smiling woman standing on road near wall

You’ll have greater clarity of thought

One of the beautiful things about regular exercise has to do with your mind. It improves the health of so many organs, including your brain. Ever noticed just how much clearer your mind feels after a good workout? This is because all that oxygen being pumped through your blood goes to all areas of the body, including the brain. Brain cells grow, and thinking improves. Even your memory becomes sharper. If you’re worried about cognitive decline as you age, just start exercising more. And if you want to help prevent some of the more serious mental diseases like dementia and Azheimer’s you’ll want to seriously consider committing yourself to a well-rounded weekly exercise regimen. As this study, published Current Alzheimer Research suggests. 

Exercise is relaxing

Stressed out these days? Exercise more! Regular exercise is inherently relaxing. There’s simply nothing better you can do to reduce stress than exercise. For me, I love walking in nature, bicycling for transportation, and practicing all types of yoga. This lifestyle relaxes me throughout the day. Sure, I have my moments of anxiety. But, they’ve become less and less as I’ve gradually begun moving more and sitting less throughout my day. 

Exercise helps reduce chronic pain

Pain can be a real issue for all of us, no matter our age. Some of us have injuries from our past. Others have back pain or the more severe disease of chronic pain known as  fibromyalgia. And while rest and more of a sedentary lifestyle used to be the treatment of choice for chronic pain relief, new studies suggest that exercise is key to reducing chronic pain. This one, published in Cochrane Reviews supports the fact that we must move our bodies regularly to reduce pain in our bodies (and minds). 

Feel more energetic with regular exercise

Rather than making you feel tired, exercise actually rejuvenates your system. The more you exercise, the more invigorated you feel. There’s even science to back this up, as this study, published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics shows. For those of us healthy individuals who need a boost in energy, regular exercise works. And for those with health conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, regular exercise also does the trick to alleviate extended bouts of fatigue and bring a spring to your step. Energetic forms of exercise like yoga and Tai chi are specifically aimed to balance energy and get it flowing freely. Whatever you choose, any form of exercise is sure to bring life to a tired soul.

man standing front of seashore and houses

Regular exercise helps prevent your risk of disease

Want to prevent chronic disease? Exercise more! One of the main reasons people become diabetic, obese, or sick with heart conditions is lack of regular exercise, as this study, published in the journal Comprehensive Physiology shows. Does cardiovascular disease run in your family? Are you worried you could succumb to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or even an early death? If so, exercise daily. If you’re worried about diabetes and obesity, you’ll also need to upgrade your exercise routine. Many studies show how exercise helps prevent and reduce the belly fat associated with these serious health conditions. This particular study, published in the journal Obesity, delves deeper into the subject. 

Give your sex life a boost

Feeling lackluster in the bedroom? You may want to exercise more. Several studies suggest that upgrading your exercise routine has a positive outcome when it comes to sex. It goes without saying that you’ll feel more self-confident about your naked body the more you move and get embodied. This study suggests that women experience better orgasms with hard workouts. And this one deems exercise an overall sexuaity enhancement. Yet another study, this one published in The Journal of Urology suggests that men who exercise regularly have better sexual function than those who don’t. All in all, regular exercise has positive effects on sexual desire and sexual function in both sexes.

Exercise makes your skin glow

Want more beautiful skin? Regular exercise does wonders for the health of your skin. Many studies show how regular bouts of moderate exercise can reduce the oxidative stress on your cells which contribute to premature skin aging. This is one such study. All that extra oxygen going to your cells improves the flow of blood throughout the body which has a positive impact on your skin cells and helps prevent premature aging. This study, published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine shows how regular, moderate exercise works as an antioxidant on skin cells, which protects them from free radical damage and slows the process of aging. 

As you can see, there are so many wonderful health benefits to regular exercise, and these benefits have been proven through various scientific studies. I hope these health benefits inspire you to improve your exercise routine, and have more fun moving your body this year. You deserve a healthy, happy life. And exercising more will no doubt help you get there!