The following list represents my top 10 reasons to exercise. There are many other reasons, however, I consider these to be the most important ones.
I have listed the reasons to exercise in order of importance. The first two reasons have longer term benefits and this is why I consider them to be the most important.
1. Creates a healthier body
It is said you are less likely to suffer from many diseases including arthritis, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease or stroke if you regularly exercise. The benefit to your long term health and vitality has to the most significant benefit of regular exercise, and something we can tend to forget on a day-to-day basis.
2. Promotes self-confidence
Your self-confidence can be significantly increased by regular exercise over the longer term (think decades over years). This increase in confidence comes from a sense of taking care of your physical health, and through a combination of all the shorter term benefits of exercise, as described in the following points.
3. Reduces everyday stress
Exercise releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals work together to make you feel good when you exercise. This is why after exercising you can feel good for the rest of the day. In fact, exercise is good at combating mild depression.
4. Gives you more energy
Exercise increases the amount of energy-producing mitochondria in our cells, which is why people who are very active have more energy, not less. When you are inactive, your body gets smart and the number of mitochondria are reduced.
5. Improves functionality
Our bodies go through a variety of motions every day including lifting, pulling, pushing, balancing, and twisting. Exercising to increase functional strength, flexibility and balance allows our bodies to move and function in more efficient and safe way, making life a little bit easier.
6. Strengthens your heart
The heart is the most important muscle in the body. As you exercise, your heart gets stronger, just like any other muscle. This increase in strength makes it work more efficiently, pumping more blood per beat so that at rest the heart rate is slower. A stronger heart can lower your blood pressure too, as less stress is exerted on your arteries.
7. Improves your posture
If you spend large chunks of your day seated, like most people who work in an office, this can play havoc with your posture. However, by employing a balanced training programme you can strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles, creating more balance within your body. An improved posture can prevent all sorts of health issues and injuries.
8. Strengthens your muscoskeletal system
Exercising strengthens your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. By strengthening your muscles through exercise, the bones are subsequently strengthened by the muscle and tendons exerting stress on your bones.
Moderate exercise helps keep cartilage healthy & strong. However, repetitive high-impact exercise may also accelerate the wearing down of cartilage. Cartilage in joints is dependent on exercise to provide it with fluids which provide nutrients, oxygen, and waste removal, since it has no direct blood supply.
9. Creates a more defined body
A more defined body is created by an increased muscle mass and less fat so your body fat percentage is lower: athletic men have 5-10% body fat, and athletic women 10-18%. The amount of muscle and fat you have is influenced by exercise, hormone levels, stress load, and nutrition.
10. Raises your metabolism
Your metabolism is increased with exercise. This is because exercise increases your muscle mass and while you are exercising you are using up extra energy. Muscle mass increases your metabolism as pound for pound muscle burns more calories than fat. Therefore, exercise is good for keeping your weight within a healthy recommended range!