It wasn’t too long ago that I believed weight loss was only good for being skinny or having a nice body shape to attract a man. It doesn’t help that magazines geared towards women perpetuate this sort of thinking with headlines like, “Easy Exercises To Look Good Naked!” or “Lose Ten Pounds In Two Weeks With Our Great Plan!” Luckily, I’ve stopped reading those magazines and have matured a lot since hitting my thirties. Now that I’m almost to my mid-thirties, I’ve realized that exercise has benefits other than weight loss. Going for a walk or heading to a yoga class can actually help a lot of the medical and psychological maladies that many Americans medicate for, like poor sleep, lack of concentration, and even menstrual pain.
Obviously exercise isn’t a cure-all or a substitution for seeing a doctor, but it’s also good for more than fitting into a pair of skinny jeans. Here are just a few other reasons to work out:
Improved Job Performance. Recent studies have shown regular exercise can lead to increased productivity at work. Scientists believe it helps clear the mind and other studies have shown the added endorphins help workers take on extra tasks.
Clearer Skin. You might think that working up a sweat would cause break outs, but the increased blood flow to your face and release of dirt through sweating is actually really great at reducing acne. You should still wash your face after a good sweat session though.
Better Sleep. Who doesn’t want more sleep? Working out three to five times a week has shown to improve sleep quality by helping you breathe more regularly and making your body more tired, so you sleep more deeply and soundly.
Less Painful Periods. I don’t know about you, but if running a mile will guarantee me a less painful period, I’m more than happy to strap on my running sneakers. Regular exercise has been proven to help ease symptoms of PMS, like cramps and mood fluctuations.
Besides all the medical reasons, exercise makes me feel stronger, more confident and body-positive. Those feelings can’t be measured on a scale and they don’t fit into a certain size of clothing. If only it didn’t take me 32 years to figure out!