Ask many people who have made exercise a part of their daily life what they consider to be their number one reason for sticking with it and you might be surprised at their responses. Once weight goals are achieved, additional benefits of physical fitness become more noticeable. As they become more accustomed to daily workouts, the stress reducing benefits of physical fitness become more of a priority. Skip more than one day of your regularly scheduled workouts and you too may notice that your stress level begins to climb. This isn’t a coincidence; science has shown that stress levels are affected by physical exercise.
Much of the stress busting benefits of physical fitness are attributed to little things in the brain called endorphins. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.” These brain chemicals are in charge of many characteristics attributed to stress free living including relaxation and an overall sense of well being.
In addition, regular exercise has been shown to increase self confidence. When you aren’t pleased with yourself, you are far less likely to be pleased with the world in general. Self confidence goes a long way in the fight against stress. According to an article found in the Journal of Health Psychology, regular exercise is shown to improve body image. And as we know, how you feel about your body has a great impact on how you feel about yourself in general.
Perhaps the most telling sign that exercise reduces stress is how you feel after taking several days off. Once you are accustomed to the regular benefits of physical fitness you may begin to see a few days off as a punishment rather than a break.
It’s important to keep all of the benefits of physical fitness in mind when developing a workout routine. If you are only focused on losing 10 pounds, what do you think will happen when those 10 pounds are lost? Extra weight is only a symptom of a much larger problem, a lack of physical health. By noticing all of the benefits of physical fitness you can ensure that you have plenty of reasons to stick with your workout program.