Many people start an exercise program looking to achieve changes to physical appearance – weight loss, less body fat, firmer and more toned muscles, improved heart health and so on. But there are many more health benefits from exercise that you cannot see. These “invisible” often hidden benefits are just as important, if not more so, than the strictly visual ones.
In fact, one recent study found that while many people began a fitness program to lose weight and improve their physical appearance they continued to exercise because of the way it made them feel.
Some of the benefits to their well-being that are not immediately obvious are enhanced overall health, better brain function and improved memory, a healthier body image, slower aging and reducing disease risk and above ALL – exercise makes you saner and happier. It helps reduce emotional stress, uplifts your mood and keeps you emotionally happy.
Chances are if you ask a successful exerciser why they do it they will likely say “because it makes me feel good”. Hands down, the most successful exercisers do it for the mental and emotional benefits and the very good news is they are often instantaneous.
Exercise is THE most effective brain exercise, bar none and is the best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain chemistry in a positive way. As the brain is the central control unit for your body it is of huge importance to keep it healthy and functioning optimally.
By increasing oxygen and nutrient rich blood flow to the brain it helps improve mental cognition and ability to focus. Exercise actually creates new brain cells and improves the brain circuitry which all influences our ability to think and remember things.
Other positive changes include better concentration, mood enhancement, decreased stress and anxiety, more creativeness, better problem solving and decision making are all scientifically proven benefits of exercise.
As action creates motivation, when you exercise regularly you are also creating higher levels of self esteem and self confidence especially when you start to improve appearance and body shape or reach your desirable body weight.
These visible benefits present a strong drive and motivation to continue to be active and reward your body so the cycle is self perpetuating When you feel better within yourself you make better choices about other lifestyle habits too.
Your higher motivation levels will allow you to enjoy exercise and this in turn will make it difficult for you to stop exercising. If you do skip physical activity this can result in a feeling of restlessness as your body and mind yearn for it.
This is the point where it goes beyond “something you do” to “something you become”. It’s a shame many people quit well before they reach this point as it really does become easy and effortless after that point is reached and a habit is built. It helps when you realize that good habits are just as addictive as bad habits and far more rewarding.
Many people cling to their bad habits because they are comfortable and familiar. But if you can allow yourself the freedom to adopt new and better habits they will eventually feel just as good – if not better than the old ones and carry greater health benefits for you in the long term.
So think of your exercise program as providing many invisible benefits as well as expected visible ones. It can make you feel less worried about your problems, help you feel better about yourself and more in control of your health and your life. Now that is really something to be very happy about.
For more tools and resources to assist you in attaining your goals and achieving the success you desire in life, please visit: Carolyn Hansen Fitness
“I help clients take charge of their health before circumstance removes the option. If your quest for peak performance living is a journey I’ll put you in the driver’s seat.”