Improves immune function:
Marketers love to make claims of the ability of their product to boost your immunity. Regardless of the legitimacy of these claims, heading out doors for a regular bout of exercise should be your first port of call if you’re looking to fire up your immune system (followed by a big dose of fresh fruit and veg).
Being active helps to promote good health in general which takes the pressure off the immune system, it also promotes good circulation and allows the cells and substances of the immune system to get to every nook and cranny more efficiently. Exercising outdoors has the added benefit of Vitamin D which helps modulate immune responses. (5)
Sets a good example for children:
This is a no brainer really, simply a case of ‘monkey see monkey do’ and given all the benefits of exercise (which for children also includes promoting cognitive functions, academics, developing fine and gross motor skills, and promoting positive social behaviours, to name a few) it is certainly something we want to be encouraging our children to do and continue to do into their adult lives.
Improves cognitive function:
The benefits of physical activity on cognition in children and the elderly have been well researched. A study earlier this year (2014) has added to this evidence by demonstrating that young healthy men performed better on cognitive tests after a single bout of moderate intensity exercise lasting 20 minutes. (6)
Improves your sex life:
Do you really need evidence for this one? If it makes things in the bed room better, it’s worth doing right? Just think benefits to libido, circulation and sexual function. Plus exercise helps reduce stress and increase energy levels to help get you in the mood ;)
Keeps you regular:
I don’t know if there is anything less sexy than being constipated. Thankfully exercise can help out in this department too. Regular exercise helps strengthen all those muscles that keep everything moving and stimulates contraction of the intestine.
This benefit of exercise is really important for children too.
Improves social wellbeing:
More often than not we tend to exercise in the company of others, even if it’s just that random sweaty guy on the treadmill next to you at the gym. Being a part of a sports club, fitness group or even gym community can do wonders for our social wellbeing and feelings of connectedness, belonging and self-value.
Improves posture and reduces back pain
Building a nice strong core and correcting muscular imbalances through a well-designed exercise program will help improve your posture and reduce back pain. Obviously the weight loss that comes with exercise helps in this department too.
Now I know not everybody will agree but exercise is, well it should be, fun! I honestly believe if you are not having fun (or at least anticipating those ‘feel good’ endorphins when you finish), then you are doing the wrong exercise. If you are not up for gruelling hours in the gym, try chasing the kids in the yard for half an hour (where a heart rate monitor to make sure you’re not being slack), go for a bush walk or jog, join a sports team, learn to surf… The point is if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t keep it up, so find something you enjoy and look forward to doing regularly.
What are you waiting for:
These are just a few of dozens of reasons to exercise regularly before we even consider the benefits to body weight.