Benefits of Exercise

10 Reasons to Exercise

Reason #1: Exercise improves the quality of your sex life.

Regular exercise maintains or improves sex life. Physical improvements in muscle strength and tone, endurance, body composition, and cardiovascular function can all enhance sexual functioning in both men and women. Men who exercise regularly are less likely to have erectile dysfunction and impotence than are men who do not exercise.[1] In addition, the better you feel about your body, the more likely you are to feel sexually attractive.

Reason #2: Exercise relieves depression.

Researchers have found that mildly to moderately depressed individuals who begin to engage in aerobic exercise 15–30 minutes at least every other day typically experience a positive mood swing in 2–3 weeks.[2]

Reason #3: Exercise helps prevent certain types of cancer.

In a study in the February 2003 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women who reported high levels of physical activity from as young as age 16, in some cases cut their risk of developing breast cancer after menopause in half, compared to women who reported no strenuous activity.[3]

Reason #4: Exercise enhances self-image.

With a more fit body you look and feel better in clothes and, perhaps more importantly, you look and feel better naked. Exercise helps reduce body fat by building muscle mass.[4]

Reason #5: Exercise relieves stress and anxiety.

Regular exercise may decrease blood pressure in overweight and obese persons even without changes in body weight. Aerobic exercise appears to have a slightly greater effect on blood pressure in hypertensive individuals than in individuals without hypertension.[5]

Reason #6: Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease.

In a long-term Swedish study, women and men who were physically active at least twice a week had a 41% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease than those who performed no physical activity.[6]

Reason #7: Exercise slows the aging process.

Proper exercise can increase your aerobic capacity as you get older. After age thirty, most people lose ten percent of their aerobic fitness per year. However, you can actually become more aerobically fit if you exercise. Exercise also results in better skin and muscle tone. Some studies actually show an increase in longevity.[7]

Reason #8: Exercise increases the good (HDL) cholesterol.

Exercise is one of the few activities that is effective in raising your level of HDL. This is the type of cholesterol that lowers your risk of heart disease.[8]

Reason #9: Exercise improves the quality of sleep.

Researchers have found that exercisers go to sleep more quickly, sleep more soundly, and are more refreshed than individuals who do not exercise.[9]

Reason #10: Exercise improves mental sharpness.

Numerous studies have shown that individuals who exercise regularly have better memories, better reaction times, and better concentration than non-exercisers may delay cognitive impairment and dementia.[10]

  1. Bacon, C., Mittleman, M., & Kawachi, I. (2003). Sexual function in men older than 50 years of age: results from the health professionals follow-up study. Annals Internal Medicine, 139(3), 161–168.

  2. Martinsen, E. W. M. . D. (2007). Physical activity and depression: clinical experience. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 89(s377), 23–27. doi:10.1111/j.1600–0447.1994.tb05797.x

  3. Dorn, J., Vena, J., & Brasure, J. (2003). Lifetime Physical Activity and Breast Cancer Risk in Pre- an… : Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 35(2), 278–285. doi:10.1249/01.MSS.0000048835.59454.8D

  4. Fenkci, S., Sarsan, A., Rota, S., & Ardic, F. (2006). Effects of resistance or aerobic exercises on metabolic parameters in obese women who are not on a diet. Advances in Therapy, 23(3), 404–413. doi:10.1007/BF02850161

  5. Pinto, A., Domenico Di Raimondo, Tuttlolomondo, Antonino, Di Raimondo, D., Tuttolomondo, A., Fernandez, P., … Licata, G. (2006). Twenty-Four Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring to Evaluate Effects on Blood Pressure of Physical Activity in Hypertensive Patients. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 16(3), 238–243. doi:10.1097/00042752–200605000–00009

  6. Kristina Sundquist M.D., Ph.D, Jan Qvist Ph.L, Sven-Erik Johansson Ph.D, Kristina Sundquist M.D., P. ., Ph.L, J. Q., & Ph.D, S.-E. J. (2005). The long-term effect of physical activity on incidence of coronary heart disease: A 12-year follow-up study. Prevention Medicine, 41(3), 219–225. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.09.043

  7. Jonker, J. T., De Laet, C., Franco, O. H., Peeters, A., Mackenbach, J., & Nusselder, W. J. (2006). Physical Activity and Life Expectancy With and Without Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 29(1), 38 –43. doi:10.2337/diacare.29.01.06.dc05–0985

  8. D.A, G. A. K., M.Ed., K. S. K., Ph.D., Z. V. T., George A. Kelley D.A, Kristi S. Kelley M.Ed., & Zung Vu Tran Ph.D. (2004). Walking, lipids, and lipoproteins: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Prevention Medicine, 38(5), 651–661. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2003.12.012

  9. Abby C. King, PhD, Roy F. Oman, PhD, Glenn S. Brassington, MA, Abby C. King, P., Roy F. Oman, P., & Glenn S. Brassington, M. A. (1997). Moderate-Intensity Exercise and Self-rated Quality of Sleep in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 277(1), 32–37. Retrieved from internal-pdf://32.html

  10. Hillman, C. H., Belopolsky, A. V. A. V, Snook, E. E. M. E. M., Kramer, A. F. A. F., & McAuley, E. (2004). Physical Activity and Executive Control: Implications for Increased Cognitive Health During Older Adulthood.pdf. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 75(2), 176–85. Retrieved from