You’re probably aware of the many health benefits of diet and exercise, but hopefully you are also aware that exercising just three times over the course of a year is not going to be sufficient to attain your goals. You need to be consistent! In this article we are going to look at seven health benefits of working out regularly.
We will try to avoid the obvious ones, such as “if you work out consistently you will build muscles” or “if you work out regularly you will increase strength”.
Instead we will take a look at benefits that are focused on areas outside of strength, fat loss, and muscle gain.
Saying that though, just in case you’re unsure of the obvious benefits we will take a quick look at those first….
One of the main health benefits of working out regularly is of course increased fitness, your cardiovascular system would be improved significantly whether you jog around the park, or deadlift 200kg.
Provided that your diet is in order you could also expect to lose body fat and overall weight as well as help with cholesterol levels. You should also see an increase to your muscular strength and endurance as well as some muscle hypertrophy.
So that is the obvious benefits, now let’s take a look at the seven less obvious benefits to working out consistently….
Testosterone is the male sex hormone, though it is also present in smaller amounts in women. It has many benefits such as increased muscle gain, improved mood, reduced body fat, and increased libido.
Exercise can cause a short-term increase in testosterone. Research found that performing free weight exercises led to large increases in serum testosterone.
This is great for the short-term, but what people really want is long-term increases in testosterone. One of the health benefits of working out regularly is you should see a more long-term increase.
Not only will you be getting frequent spikes in testosterone thanks to the free weight resistance exercises, but you will also be getting reduced aromatase (an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen).
Almost every benefit from exercise that men get is down to increased testosterone and exercise increases testosterone production. Which is a great circular relationship.
Remember that women can also benefit from increased testosterone, but they should also see benefits from increased estrogen.
The relationship between exercise and sleep quality is a complicated one. Highly intensive exercise can produce cortisol which is a hormone that is released during stressful times.
In high levels, cortisol can negatively affect sleep quality and duration. This then further increases cortisol which creates a vicious cycle. This is why bad sleep quality is one of the signs of over-training.
But if you are training consistently you should not be in danger of over-exerting yourself. Instead you should be receiving all of the benefits of exercise we mentioned above.
Many of these benefits (weight loss, improved mood, increased testosterone) have been shown to improve sleep quality. A study found that aerobic exercise improved sleep quality in older adults with insomnia.
Improved sleep can also help increase testosterone, regulate appetite (very useful for people who are dieting), and improve mood, libido, and cognitive function. It can also reduce stress which will help lower cortisol.
Hopefully you are beginning to see the interconnected relationships that all of these benefits have 😉
Whereas the last two looked at scientific reactions to long-term exercise, this benefit is a lot more of a physical one. As people age they generally get stronger and frailer, women go through menopause, and men go through their own equivalent.
Muscle mass lowers, bone density drops, and suddenly you are 70 years old and need help to do the gardening, or you fall over and break a hip.
Some of you reading this may be laughing, but it is a genuine concern that WILL affect you in the future.
Exercising consistently can help you to keep your independence as you age. It may also help some of you to gain independence right now. If you are constantly needing people to help you lift things, then training in the gym can help you manage for yourself.
So much of exercise is focused on short-term goals, but reaching 90 years old in good physical and mental health should be the ultimate aim for everyone!
Being consistent with your training can lead to amazing results, but to be consistent you need to be following a routine. Training at the same time each day, on the same day each week.
This makes it a lot easier to turn up to the gym, as you factor gym time into your daily plans.
But your body will also adapt to your training time, it will help you to peak physically at this time. Anyone who usually trains at 6pm but decides to try a 6am session will know what I am are talking about.
Your routine will allow you to get the best workout results possible, your recovery and sleep patterns will adapt to this.
If you are already sociable then going to the gym on Friday nights won’t help that, but many millions of people out there are less sociable than ever.
Men tend to lose friends as they age until their social circle is tiny.
Training in a gym can help to change that, particularly if you are consistent and follow a set routine. You will see the same people day in, day out, and eventually you might find you now have a whole new social circle.
How close you allow these people into your life is up to you (and them too obviously), it can range from having someone to nod at every day, to someone to train with, to someone to go for a beer with on the weekend.
This goes double for elderly men and women. Get yourself into that gym and make some awesome new friends!
If you are struggling to conceive then one of the best ways to manage it is to lose weight, exercising consistently can help with that.
Consistent exercise can also lower stress, increase testosterone and improve sleep – all factors that can affect fertility.
Have you ever had a friend who decided to join into a 3 on 3 basketball game, fall over and damage their cruciate ligament? The reason behind this? Partly bad luck, but partly their lack of fitness.
Exercising consistently can strengthen muscles, but also ligaments, joints, and bones. People who exercise will also have better flexibility, better reactions, and better hand eye coordination.
This all adds up to less risk of injury in the future.
To lower risk of injury even further always incorporate a warm down stretching routine into your exercise plan.
When people first start training they are usually concerned with how to get amazing results in the fastest way possible. They want to get that perfect body without putting in the effort.
They follow training programs that guarantee abs in just 12 weeks, or follow diets that will get them “beach ready in 30 days”.
But there are no real tricks to fat loss, it’s all about consistency. It’s about turning up 4-5 times per week (or more) getting your session in, eating well (but within a calorie deficit), and making sure that you are sleeping properly.
That’s all there is to it.
Every benefit of working out that you can imagine all come down to being consistent. You don’t need to do anything fancy.
Walk 10,000 steps per day, go to the gym, hit your calorie and macro targets, go to bed at the right time. Wake up and repeat.
This may not sound fun or sexy, but it should do. Because it means that you don’t have to turn your life upside down every time you want to lose weight.
You are following a simple plan that is easy to do, being consistent means that you can reward yourself more without sabotaging your results and you’ll really see the health benefits of working out regularly.
Going for 10 beers and a pizza with your friends is never going to aid weight loss, but the guy who exercises 5 times per week is going to survive it better than the guy who only trains every two months.
Life is there to be enjoyed, and being consistent with your training and diet allows you more opportunities to have fun, both now and in the future.
What’s your experience? Have you seen the great health benefits of working out regularly?
What’s your routine like?
Why not help others learn from your experience, please let us all know in the comments below….
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