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Don't Cut Exercise Out of Your Life

Older man and woman on  bikes

By Wanda Marie


You may be busier than ever, but that's no excuse to cut workouts from your calendar. In fact, evidence suggests you might be shooting yourself in the foot by eliminating trips to the gym. These are just some of the reasons why you need to keep workouts on your plate.


1)      Regular exercise extends your life expectancy.


According to the American Heart Association, for each hour of exercise you get, you can gain two hours of life expectancy. This phenomenon is due largely to the numerous physiological effects exercise has, such as keeping cholesterol and stress hormones under control. You’ll get back the time you put into your workouts and then some if you commit.


2)      You can end up more productive.


As Forbes’ contributor Jennifer Cohen describes, numerous research studies have tied exercise to better cognitive status and results. The endorphins (often referred to as feel-good chemicals) released when you exercise rev your memory into high gear, for example, and focus can be elevated for up to two hours after a workout session.

In fact, these results are significant enough that researchers have pointed toward regular physical exercise as a drug-alternative treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as James Hamblin of The Atlantic reports. The combination of good concentration and information retention can mean you end up working more efficiently, which can translate into more free time for what you truly enjoy.


3)      You won’t just live life--you’ll actually enjoy it.


Endorphins produced when you exercise don’t just elevate your focus and memory. They also affect your mood, reducing anxiety and stress. In particular, levels of oxytocin, the so-called “cuddle” or “love” hormone, tend to go up. Researchers point to this hormone as being especially critical for social well-being, connecting it to the ability to trust and connect with other people. With an improved sense of calm and stronger relationships, you might experience what you go through as more meaningful, remembering more of the good times you have.


4)      Your energy can improve.


Many people dismiss exercise as doable because they’re so tired from meeting all the legitimate responsibilities they have. As the Mayo Clinic asserts, however, exercise results in high levels of oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your tissues, improving your cardiovascular efficiency. It also is connected to falling asleep quickly and deeper sleep. The result often is a boost in energy, which can affect everything from your work to the pleasure you get during sexual encounters.


5)      You’ll have another reason to be more confident.


Exercise is always a journey even for professionals, the entire idea being to continually challenge yourself. With this in mind, maybe you aren’t ready to thrust an Olympic bar laden with plates over your head and do a full squat, but you can bet your getting-in-shape booty you can acknowledge the set of 5 non-weighted half squats you just tried out and survived. It’s more than possible to take the “I did it” from your workouts, even as a beginner, and translate that into an “I can” for any other area of your life. Not only that, but the compliments you’ll likely get about your improved energy, productivity, mood and physique can do wonders for your self-esteem, too.


6)      You might end up more independent.


Exercise can be a simple but highly effective treatment for a range of conditions. It can alleviate back pain from poor posture, for example, by improving flexibility, strengthening stabilizing muscles and correcting imbalances. With these problems under control, it’s easier to plan and venture out by yourself. Additionally, as you become stronger, you might find that tasks you normally would need help with, such as carrying heavy groceries up the stairs to your apartment, aren’t an issue anymore.

This doesn’t mean have to refuse a hand when it’s offered to you, considering acts of service demonstrate love. It simply means you don’t have to feel overly reliant and will have greater freedom in what you choose to do. That matters in today’s hyper-scheduled world where waiting for help can mean the loss of other opportunities.


The modern world makes it easy to write exercise out of daily routines, but the reality is that regular physical activity delivers fabulous returns. You get back the time you put in and then some, reaping additional benefits that make life more enjoyable. If you have been putting off getting into a program, now is the moment to take charge and claim those advantages.  


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