Feeling lethargic? Tired? Blue? Instead of lying down, try getting up to move. Exercise can help you function and sleep better, and it can reduce your risk of a number of chronic diseases. Countless studies and researchers have found that moving makes your life better. Here are three reasons why daily movement matters.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines state that adults should do at least 150–300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75–150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. (An equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity also works!) HHS says you get better results by spreading that activity across the week. Adults also need strength training sessions "of moderate or greater intensity" that involve all major muscle groups at least two days a week. It's not a matter of choosing one or the other: both strength and cardio provide necessary health benefits.
If you tally those times, you’ll notice the recommended minimum exercise requirements don’t demand daily movement, but there’s still another piece to this wellness puzzle: the mental benefits of movement.
Movement Impacts Your Feelings
Need an expert to tell you that exercise can improve your mood? The folks at the Harvard Medical School blog have you covered. They say regular aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety by making your brain’s “fight or flight” system less reactive. Additionally, regular exercise such as cycling or gym-based aerobic, resistance, flexibility, and balance exercises can also reduce depressive symptoms. In fact, exercise can be as effective as medication and psychotherapies, and can improve your mood by increasing a brain protein called BDNF that helps nerve fibers grow.
Movement Can Improve Self-Esteem
As strange as it may sound, those group exercise classes could be helping people feel better about themselves, even before they see physical results. A 2014 exercise study found that moving in sync with other people can make you feel happier. Synchronizing your movements with another person can also make you like that person more. Struggling with a tense relationship with a family member or co-worker? Maybe it’s time you exercised together.
Movement Can Improve Your Sex Life
According to the experts at Mayo Clinic, regular physical activity can improve energy levels and physical appearance, which may boost your sex life. And there’s more good news: research suggests that regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women, and men who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.
Daily movement may not be a cure for everything that ails you, but it’s definitely a strong start. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave your home to squeeze in that workout. There are lots of compact, affordable fitness tools, like the TRX Suspension Trainer, that you can use at home for a full-body workout.
- Harvard Health Blog: How simply moving benefits your mental health
- Mayo Clinic: Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity