8 Reasons to Exercise for Near-Instant Gratification

It’s no secret that exercise can help you live longer by lessening your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. You would think this knowledge would be enough of a motivator to go to the gym.  However, for many people it's not. 

According to a recent CDC report, nearly 30% of adults in the U.S. get no exercise at all, and obesity is on the rise in adults and children. Clearly, the knowledge that exercise has long-lasting benefits isn’t always enough of an impetus to get moving.

My suggestion is to focus on how exercise can help you today, rather than what it can do for you years down the road. Think in terms of near-instant gratification, and the idea of exercising can actually become less overwhelming and more accessible.

1. Exercise can help you de-stress and improve your mood.

Stress can cause us to be in a constant state of fight-or-flight. In that state, our body releases an excess amount of adrenaline and cortisol, increasing our risk of health problems. Exercising will help to release endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, making you feel less anxious, and happier.

When you are in a lightened state, you can think more clearly, and get more done. That in turn will help you keep a handle on stress. 

2. Exercise will help you sleep better.

People who exercise regularly tend to sleep better and feel less tired throughout the day. When endorphins are released into your bloodstream helping you to de-stress and improve your mood, you're increasing your ability to fall asleep quicker as well. 

Just don’t work out too close to bedtime, as it can over-stimulate the body and prevent you from falling asleep.

3. Use exercise as a time to spend with your friends.

In the busy world we live in, it's often hard to find time to fit in everything, even the things we know are good for us. Make a date with a friend to go for a run, hike, or to check out some new fitness class. Friends are also good motivators, so you'll be less likely to cancel if you’ve scheduled something ahead of time.

4. Exercise will give your skin a glow.

Have you ever noticed your skin looking better after a workout? Especially one that made you sweat? That's one of the ways your body rids itself of toxins. Sweat helps to clear your skin by releasing toxins that clog your pores and cause pimples. Exercising increases the blood flow to your skin, in turn increasing the sweat glands' ability to release toxins. (Just make sure to rinse off the toxins after your workout!)

5. Exercising will give you energy. 

Exercise and movement help to get your blood flowing more efficiently through your body, cutting down on the work your cardiovascular system has to do. With your heart and lungs not having to work so hard, you have more energy for your daily activities.

6. Exercise can increase your sex drive.

As mentioned, exercising releases endorphins, which give you more energy, increased confidence, and help you feel more relaxed. All of which can lead to a desire for sex. Along with that, exercising gets your blood flowing through your body, including your sex organs. Just watch that you don’t overdo it, as extreme exercise can have the opposite effect.

7. Exercising during work makes you more productive. 

A Swedish study proved that exercise during the workday boosts productivity. You're able to accomplish more during the hours you are at work. And in the long term, it decreases your number of sick days. You also may enjoy what you’re doing more.

8. You can be a good example for your children. 

It's our responsibility as adults to set good examples for our children. They look to us for answers and guidance. My 4-year-old niece knows I’m a Pilates instructor, and informed me the other day that in her pretend world, she’s a fitness instructor. 

The younger kids learn the importance of exercise, the better. The fact my niece wants to follow in my footsteps, even in her pretend world, makes me proud to be doing what I do.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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About the Author

Kristen Matthews is a Santa Monica–based Pilates teacher and co-founder of The Pilates Fix, an online site promoting healthy lifestyle choices with workouts, recipes, and encouragement. She co-created the fitness DVD "Trim, Tighten & Tone," has been featured in Pilates Style Magazine, and contributes to various health and wellness blogs.

Kristen is known for creating fun yet challenging full body workouts while focusing on length and opposition, attention to detail, and the body mind connection. With an endless curiosity of people and the body, she continually seeks out new ways to enhance her clients' lives. While teaching is Kristen's first love, she enjoys the creative outlet writing has to offer.