A few of many benefits you’ll enjoy from daily exercise:
- Improves cognitive function and memory
- Decreases risk of depression and anxiety
- Increases energy levels
- Elevates mood
- Reduces stress
- Boosts confidence
- Strengthens muscles
- Increases bone density
What Counts as Exercise?
It seems like only the superlatives count as “real exercise,” like the newest, most intense, most natural forms of intentional exercise. What if you can’t afford CrossFit? Or what if you feel intimated by the demands of parkour, or get bored by Bikram yoga? What happened to walking, skipping, croquet, four square, or kite-flying? I say they all count. Whatever activity catches our interest and gets our bodies moving gets a thumbs-up.
In case you need more incentive to get moving, think about the potential social benefits of exercise. There’s the explicitly social activities like kickball, softball, ultimate frisbee and other field sports. Then there’s dancing, Zumba, bowling and hiking. Individuals who participate in these activities are challenging themselves physically and they’re doing it with others. Exercise does not have to be punishment. It can involve laughter, high-fives and friends. But even those who would rather stick to their treadmill, elliptical or stairstepper can reap the rewards of social interaction. Sure, some gym members stick to themselves, but you don’t have make it all or nothing. You don’t have to decide between being the extroverted team sports guru, or the introvert who makes a beeline for the elliptical. It’s possible to make a point of smiling at other regulars, introduce yourself to employees at the desk, or other gesture as a way to connect with people.
If you’re already a regular exerciser, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. If you’re friends with someone who neglects this aspect of general health, consider inviting them for a walk or similar physical activity. Ask what kind of movement they enjoy doing, and offer to join them. Some exercise is better than no exercise.