Monday, March 29, 2021


By Luke Smith

Photo created by drobotdean -

Activities like exercising, fitness routines, going for a jog, and trips to the gym are most often associated with physical appearance. The ability to tone arms and legs, bulk up on muscle, and ensure that you’re in tip-top physical condition are priorities for many fitness junkies.

The truth is, if you invest in a consistent exercise regimen, you can actually tap into a ton of other benefits besides your outward appearance. Here are some of the ways that fitness can improve not just your looks but your overall health, as well.

Fitness Can Help Manage Chronic Pain

Staying in shape is a powerful way to manage a variety of different chronic pain conditions. For instance, many simple exercises can help you manage knee arthritis. Hamstring and leg stretching as well as single-leg dips and leg raises can help you keep your knees healthy so that you can manage the pain better.

Consistent exercise can also help you stay more flexible and mobile — both of which can help you head off a variety of chronic things like backaches and neck pain.

And we’re not just talking about super intense visits to the gym that last for hours and eat up portions of your day. Many Occupational Therapists will recommend something as easy as yoga at your desk to help you stay mobile and increase your overall wellness.

Woman photo created by lookstudio -

Fitness Can Boost Your Mental Health

While exercise is most often associated with the body, it can also be really good for the mind. In fact, there are multiple ways that your mental health can benefit from a good fitness regimen.

For example, exercise is well-known as a good option for stress management. By exerting effort, your body releases endorphins. These can be the perfect antidote to an anxious mind, helping you relax and focus on the moment.

Exercise also tends to get you outside, where you can tangentially benefit from the countless positives that come with time spent outdoors. Things like breathing fresh air and soaking in the sunshine are very good for your health and wellness. Even just going for a hike is a great way to get some low impact exercise while also enjoying the outdoors.

Summer photo created by gpointstudio -

Fitness Can Help with Digestion

Another area where fitness can make a difference is with your digestion. This is especially true for individuals who are struggling with more significant conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or GERD, which can lead to a litany of painful experiences surrounding food.

Along with eating well and making smart lifestyle choices, weight loss is regularly recommended as a way to combat poor digestion. Excessive weight has the potential to distort esophageal valvae anatomy, which can lead to acid reflux. Fitness is obviously one of the best ways to shed those pounds, making it easier on your entire digestive system in the process.

For anyone who has had to be on a diet, you know that it’s also easier said that done. Especially when attending parties and get togethers, it can be particularly difficult to not only stick to healthy foods for weight-loss reasons, but to also avoid various digestive disruptions. Knowing this, before you start attending parties where there will be food present, take some time to practice good habits that will help you curb cravings and other temptations while at social gatherings. This way, not only will you ensure you’re sticking to your goals, you can focus on spending time with family and friends without stressing over the buffet table.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Fitness Can Help You Sleep Better

Finally, exercising can help you sleep better. The polar opposite activities — one intense and the other relaxing — can have a great back and forth when you integrate exercise into your schedule.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that you need to exercise at the right time of day if you want it to positively impact your sleep. For instance, if you hop on the treadmill or swim a dozen laps an hour before bed, it’s likely to wake you up and inhibit your ability to catch some shut-eye. 

However, if you can exercise earlier in the day, it can wake up your body and burn energy. Then, when bedtime rolls around, your body will be ready to tap out and rest after a long and productive day of physical activity.

Tapping Into the Countless Benefits of Fitness

The goal in going for a jog or spending an hour strength training is far too often focused on looks. However, while it’s absolutely fine to want to look good, that shouldn’t be the only factor driving your exercise goals. 

It’s also important to remember all of the other benefits that come with fitness. Mental health, sleep, digestion, and pain management all get a leg up when you take the time to stay fit. 

So, the next time you’re feeling undermotivated to start your workout, remind yourself that you aren’t just doing this to look good the next time you head to the office or go out on a date. You’re also exercising for your own long-term health, too.

Eco Yoga Mat (Photo courtesy of  Sweaty Betty)


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