Active Lifestyles: Three suprising reasons exercise benefits you

Katy Mueller

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(photo courtesy of Patrick Hendry via Unsplash.com)

No matter what it is, moving your body is amazing for you. Swimming, hiking, HIIT workouts, yoga, walking, the exercise options are endless. Exercise gives us a great bod, but it does so many other great things that we may not even realize. There are real benefits from squeezing in a daily workout. These three things, while not the only benefits of working out, are definitely my favorite side perks of exercising.

1. It helps you sleep better

As long as you aren’t finishing a workout an hour before trying to fall asleep, exercise helps your quality of sleep improve dramatically. According to the Sleep Foundation, exercise helps improve a person’s circadian rhythm (the cycle your body is on that triggers when it’s time to sleep) and promote better sleep even in cases of chronic insomnia. If you are having trouble sleeping or staying asleep, adding in a workout at least a few hours before bed should really help.

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2. It improves your skin

Exercise is pretty great for your skin. It pumps blood everywhere in your body, giving fresh oxygen and attention to your face, which usually doesn’t get a huge amount of blood flow during the day. Because exercise helps release toxins from your pores, it cleans out a bunch of the dirt and grime that causes your face to break out. Just make sure you are washing your face after you’re done working out to get all those released toxins off your skin.

3. It reduces stress

I dig a good workout when I am feeling really stressed. I have pretty intense anxiety, and I can tell you that when I am done with a run, I feel immensely better. Exercise releases little hormones, although it is unclear if they are endorphins or a similar hormone that is also found in marijuana, that lifts your mood. It helps clear the mind and push back feelings of anxiety, depression, and overall stress.

Exercise isn’t all about how it makes you look. It is an activity that benefits your all around health. When you focus on how you feel during and after a workout, it is much easier to appreciate the act of working out itself because you can see immediate, positive results of your healthy efforts.

Collegian blogger Katy Mueller can be found at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter @katymueller13