Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 30 years, you know that exercise is good for you. And for the most part, we Americans love it. By “it,” though, I mean we love to talk about it, spend money on gym memberships that we soon tire of, and purchase the latest and greatest exercise attire, which has now become the new loungewear. The exercise craze in America was jump-started in the 80’s amidst Jane Fonda’s workout videos, Suzanne Somers’ Thigh Masters (I owned both), and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s break-out role (abs and all) in “The Terminator”….and, like many of that generation, I’ve been hooked ever since! I sweated alongside other leotard-clad women to Olivia Newton-John’s, “Let’s Get Physical” in various gyms since I was 16.
Back in the 80’s, the reason for exercise was to “improve your heart-health.” There was little talk of other benefits. But just as gym attire has changed over the years (no more leg-warmers and headbands for me, thank you very much), so too has the way we exercise (I exercise now much more like Arnold, and a lot less like Jane Fonda). Today there are innumerable exercise classes, ranging from old-school weightlifting and cross-fit, to barre classes and Zumba (which, I have to say, reminds me a bit of the old Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”).
Today, along with all of those classes, videos, digital downloads and “as seen on TV” apparatuses, there are new scientific reasons to hit the gym. Some make perfect sense, some are counter-intuitive, and some may even surprise you.
10 New Reasons to Exercise:
1. It decreases your stress levels. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that regular exercise not only helps alleviate stress, but also helps you to better handle incoming stressors.
2. You will have more energy. It seems counter-intuitive that exercise would give you more energy since, after all, you are exerting energy when you work out. However, people who exercise regularly report much more energy, throughout the day, than those who frequent the gym less often.
3. You will have better sex. That’s right. I said it. This is great news that applies to both guys and gals. Hooray! Gals – ab work increases the strength of your pelvic floor, which leads to stronger and more frequent orgasms. (A whittled waistline and better orgasms? Yes, please.) And fellas, if you work out regularly, you’ll have increased stamina (yay), a significantly lower occurrence of erectile dysfunction (high-five), and you will not only increase the strength of your orgasm, but your desire for sex as well (Now that’s a win-win- win)!
4. You will have less injuries in daily life. We need to be strong and flexible as we get older, in order to continue our daily activities and protect our bodies from injury. If you’ve ever lifted a 50-pound bag of dog food in and out of your shopping cart, you know what I mean. In addition, our muscles help us to brace ourselves on the occasions when we slip and fall, the same as they help us to get up out of a chair. We’ve all seen the “Help me! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials. Well, if that 80-year-old woman in the advertisement had been stretching and pumping iron every day, she would have been far less likely to find herself stuck in that uncomfortable predicament.
5. It improves your memory. Several recent studies have shown that regular exercise not only improves memory, but it may also stave off dementia. I know that I need to do everything I can to improve my memory, as my children often call me “Dory.” (You know… From that Disney movie… The fishy cartoon… What’s the name? … uggh).
6. You will sleep better. Getting your zzzz’s is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Sleep affects your weight, skin, emotional well-being and brain function. Research reveals that those who exercise regularly experience a better quality of sleep, with fewer incidences of insomnia.
7. You will have higher self-esteem. Let’s face it, most people exercise so they can look better. I know that’s a big part of why I do it. But just like a ‘good hair day’ can change your entire state of mind, so too can a fit and healthy body. Knowing that we are looking our best is a confidence booster for sure.
8. You will celebrate more birthdays. Yep, even moderate walking three times a week increases your life expectancy by 7 years, as compared to those who sat on their asses all day, binge-watching TV. So, imagine what working out five days a week, with resistance training and yoga, could do?
9. It helps to improve your posture. Not only does weight-bearing exercise increase bone density, thereby staving off osteoporosis, it also helps improve your posture by strengthening the muscles required to “keep our chins up, and tits out.”
10. You will be happier. That’s right, folks: exercise makes you happy. Just as watching a comedic movie (like “Finding Nemo” – See? I remembered it), exercise has been proven to help alleviate depression and elevate moods throughout the day, long after the post-work out endorphin rush has subsided.
So there you have it. 10 more reasons to put that oh-so-stylish exercise (lounge) attire to better use. Get them sweaty, for God’s sake! And in doing so, you’ll improve everything from your memory to your sex life. Now that’s a really good way to Live Young!