Trade in that keg for a six pack. This is our top 10 reasons to get fitter now!
- Be an Athlete. Strong is great, but don't just be strong and not able to walk up and down stairs. Take some pride in yourself and be capable of tackling anything life throws at you.
- Reduce Stress. Rough day at the office? Take a walk or head to the gym for a quick workout. One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So go ahead and get sweaty — working out can reduce stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. Win-win!
- Develop Discipline. Staying in shape is hard work. If it was easy we wouldn't have an obesity problem in our country. Learn the right things to eat, have some will power to abstain from crappy food, and be able to train and work hard even when you're tired. This will help you in life in and out of the gym.
- Boost Happy Chemicals. Slogging through a few miles on the ‘mill can be tough, but it’s worth the effort! Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. For this reason, docs recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety, pencil in plenty of gym time. In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression. Don’t worry if you’re not exactly the gym rat type — getting a happy buzz from working out for just 30 minutes a few times a week can instantly boost overall mood.
- Be Sexier. Working out isn’t just about looking better naked, but can help boost sex drive and self-confidence. This trifecta is bound to get you some attention.
- Less likely to die. If you’re fit you can probably run or at least sprint. So if there is a bear attack (animal kind) then you have a better chance of escaping than your slower buddies. You don't have to be the fastest in the group - Just not the slowest.
- Prevent Cognitive Decline. It’s unpleasant, but it’s true — as we get older, our brains get a little... hazy. As aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kill off brain cells, the noggin actually shrinks, losing many important brain functions in the process. While exercise and a healthy diet can’t “cure” Alzheimer’s, they can help protect the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45. Working out, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
- Improve Self-Confidence. Hop on the treadmill or weights to look (and more importantly, feel) like a million bucks. On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person's perception of his or her attractiveness, that is, self-worth. How’s that for feeling the (self) love?
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors. For an extra boost of self-love, take that workout outside. Exercising in the great outdoors can increase self-esteem. Find an outdoor workout that fits your style, whether it’s rock-climbing, hiking, renting a canoe, or just taking a jog in the park. Plus, all that Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun (while wearing sunscreen, of course!) can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms. Why book a spa day when a little fresh air and sunshine (and exercise) can work wonders for self-confidence and happiness?
- Live longer. Who knows how much time you have? What I do know, is you should make the most of the one-shot you have at life. Get out and explore. Have some adventures. See the world. Climb mountains. All do this is going to be easier if you're fitter. Take care of your body, so it can allow you to live to the fullest.
Prepared by Matt Vincent and Chad Demchik
The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.