February 9, 2023
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Hot! What Exercise Does for Your Body (Inside and Out)

After recently starting a new fitness regimen, you’ve no doubt already begun to notice some of the amazing perks of exercise. We’re talking better mood, a feeling of accomplishment and confidence levels so high that they’re practically in the clouds. 

If you’re already addicted to the many perks of exercise, we have good news: it gets even better. Stick with your fitness routine and you can expect to see a lot more health benefits come your way.

What health benefits are those, exactly? Here’s a look at some of the things that you can expect to happen to your body—both inside and out—when you exercise.

  1. You’ll have more energy.

Feel like you’re constantly running on empty these days? Skip the caffeine pills and sneak in a quick workout instead. Though it may seem counterintuitive, working out can actually make you feel more energetic. That’s because exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones that alleviate pain and stress. 

Your workout doesn’t even need to be all that strenuous to start making you feel like the Energizer Bunny. In a 2008 study from the University of Georgia, researchers found that low-intensity exercise could boost energy levels by 20 percent and reduce fatigue by 65 percent in sedentary participants. Take a brisk walk, lift some light weights or do some quick jump rope, and you’ll start feeling better in no time.

  1. You’ll have better skin.

Forget about tanning beds and fake tanning lotion. Sweating is the real secret to achieving a healthy glow. Although many of us consider sweat to be an unpleasant (read: gross) side effect of exercise, it turns out that the salty mix of urea, protein, minerals and ammonia can actually benefit our skin by helping it stay hydrated and healthy.

The only catch is that you can’t leave sweat on your body for too long; otherwise, you could find yourself dealing with acne breakouts. The high salt content in sweat can also be damaging to your hair, but that’s nothing that a good argan oil shampoo can’t fix. Small sacrifices for the greater good, we say.

  1. You’ll get stronger.

Have you ever left the gym feeling wobbly and like your legs were made of jello? We’ve all been there before. Whenever you crush a difficult workout, you make microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. These tiny tears go through a rebuilding process which ultimately makes you stronger.

The immediate result of this recovery process is often sore, achy muscles. Though it can be somewhat annoying, sore muscles are usually a sign that progress has been made. Take the day off, let your muscles recover and embrace the ache.

  1. You’ll start sleeping like a baby.

One of the most underrated perks of regular exercise is getting better sleep. Can you recall the best night of sleep you ever had? Imagine getting that almost every night. With regular exercise, it’s certainly possible.

And yes, that holds true for insomniacs as well. According to a 2008 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, moderate aerobic exercise (i.e., running or swimming) can reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality in insomnia patients. For maximum sleep benefits, skip the late night workout and try exercising earlier in the day.

  1. You’ll discover the Fountain of Youth.

Although exercising can’t stop the aging process entirely, it can get pretty darn close. According to a 2017 study published in Preventive Medicine, high levels of physical activity can slow down biological aging by preserving telomeres, which are the little protective caps at the end of each DNA strand. 

The only catch is that a little exercise won’t cut it. To hold onto your youthful good looks, you need to work out regularly at a high level. But if you can do that, then you’re golden. Throw on a classic suit, slick back your hair with hair putty and we guarantee that not a single soul will ever know your true age.

  1. You’ll enhance your thinking skills. 

Want to stay sharp and engaged as you get older? Hint: start exercising. 

A slew of research has shown that exercise can do wonders for the ol’ noggin. According to a 2018 study published in the journal NeuroImage, aerobic exercise can increase the size of the left region of the hippocampus—the part of your brain responsible for memory and other important functions—and help slow down aging-related deterioration of the brain.

Exercise can have immediate benefits as well. Do you tend to do your best thinking after taking a brisk walk? According to research from Stanford, taking a walk—whether on a treadmill or outdoors—can help you think more clearly and even boost your creative juices.

  1. You’ll feel less stressed.

Stress is like dark chocolate–a little bit is good for us, but too much can have consequences for our health. If you’re one of the many people who need help feeling more Zen-like, exercise is arguably one of the best ways to chill out. 

Exercise can help lower stress levels in several ways. First, exercise can release endorphins which give us that temporary sense of well-being and euphoria. Going through repetitive motions can also help us take our minds off whatever is bothering us at the moment.

Want to exercise to reduce stress? Consider trying Hatha yoga, a form of yoga that focuses on connecting your body, breath and mind. And if that doesn’t do it for you, there’s always goat yoga.

The Takeaway

When you start exercising, lots of interesting things can start happening to your body. Granted, some of them are more welcome than others, but they’re all signs that you’re doing good things for your body–inside and out. If that’s not a good enough reason to get moving, we don’t know what is.

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