As you go about getting started with a brand new workout program, chances are you are primarily considered about the aesthetic benefits of exercise. You want a lean stomach. You want firmer thighs. You want more muscle definition. All are common goals that people will state to their personal trainers.
In this quest for a better body though, it’s important not to overlook all the many different benefits of exercise that can help keep you motivated every step of the way.
If you aren’t thinking about all the many different benefits of exercise, it can be easy to fall off the bandwagon as soon as you aren’t seeing the fat loss progress you desire.
Let’s have a look at five benefits of exercise that you may have not realized before.
1) Improved Self-Esteem
The first big benefit of exercise that often gets overlooked is the benefit to your self-esteem. If you are currently very depressed about the way you look and this impacts how you act in social situations – or influences whether or not you even go out in social situations, then this will definitely impact your life.
By exercising, even if you aren’t getting very lean quickly, you are still going to be feeling good about what you’re accomplishing and this will boost your self-esteem.
So even from the very first day of starting your new workout program, you can see self-esteem benefits taking place.
2) Enhanced Insulin Sensitivity
Second, another clear benefit that you need to think about is the fact that any form of exercise is going to help to increase your insulin sensitivity level.
Your insulin sensitivity, that is how well your body handles carbohydrates and the insulin that gets released when you eat carbohydrates, is a key determinant of whether you gain body fat as you go about your diet plan.
If you have poor insulin sensitivity, as many people with excess body fat do, the dieting process is going to be that much harder for you.
On the flip side of the coin though, if you have good insulin sensitivity, you will be more likely to build lean muscle mass rather than gain excess body fat.
One of the big benefits of exercise is that it primes you to do just that. Now, higher intensity exercise will assist with this more than moderate intensity exercise will, but all variations still do have their benefits.
3) Increased Sleep Quality
Another of the benefits of exercise is increased sleep quality. Many people already struggle with poor sleep throughout the night, either due to stress or simply not enough time spent in their bed trying to sleep.
And, lack of sleep is one of the biggest killers to your overall health level.
So the great news is that a regular exercise program, especially when exercise is done at a more intense level, will dramatically enhance sleep quality.
Not only will you likely start sleeping longer when you exercise, but you will fall into a deeper sleep sooner as well, which is when you really refresh the body and mind.
Most people who are doing regular exercise notice that they are starting to feel far more refreshed whenever they wake up in the morning hours.
4) Increased Self-Efficacy
The next one of the benefits of exercise to know is that it will also enhance your level of self-efficacy. This is quite similar to self-esteem, but different in some important ways.
Self-efficacy refers to your own belief in your ability to accomplish something that you set out to do.
Self-esteem refers to how you view yourself – whether you view yourself in a negative or positive way.
The benefits of having good self-efficacy levels is that it will inspire you to go after goals in other areas of your life more as well.
When you set the goal to participate in an exercise plan and stick with it – and then you actually follow through and do just that, you are improving your self-beliefs that you will accomplish other things that you set out to do as well.
At the end of the day, this can make you more proficient in many other areas of your life and bring you to a much greater stage of personal growth.
Those who have low levels of self-efficacy are likely to just avoid situations that are hard and challenging because they just don’t think they will be able to do what it takes.
Setting smaller goals with your workout program and accomplishing them will offer slight boosts to your self-efficacy that do add up over time.
5) Enhanced Sex Life
Finally, the last of the benefits of exercise that will interest many people is that it can improve your own sex life. This is especially the case for men as exercise will increase your levels of free flowing testosterone in the body and testosterone is the primary muscle building hormone.
So if your goal is to maintain a healthy sex drive, your workouts will actually help you do this.
Plus, those who are doing regular workout sessions also report having more energy levels on a day to day basis, so this can help to enhance your overall mood and libido as well.
You likely already know already, when you get home from a very long and tiring day at work, if you feel drained and exhausted, being intimate is the last thing on your mind.
Getting a quick re-boost at the gym can help re-energize your body so you’re more up for that special time with your partner.
So be sure that you are keeping these benefits of exercise in mind in addition to all the physical benefits that you’re already looking forward to. While there’s no shame in being happy about the other physical benefits you’ll be seeing, just don’t make them the only focus of your program.
Otherwise, when progress is moving along slower, that may be the end of your workout efforts. Focus on all the benefits and you’ll fare far better.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]