The 1 Benefit of Exercise You’ve Never Considered, Revealed

It might seem like the benefits of exercise are practically endless — and they very well could be. You already know exercise is great for your health, but it can also improve your life in ways you never imagined. If you need some motivation to lace up your sneakers or pop in a workout video, this might do the trick.

Exercise is about so much more than weight loss …

Sports workout shoes

Movement is important to your overall health. | grinvalds/iStock/Getty Images

Most people start exercising to lose weight, promptly realizing that their workouts do a lot more than slim their bodies. Exercise can fight fatigue because moving around revs up your body’s energy production. And it can even help reduce bone loss. Researchers are still learning more about the benefits of exercise, but it’s safe to say they’re numerous.

Next: It’s what you do that matters, not when. 

… And it doesn’t matter when you do it

Young blond female runs along the beach

Early morning or late night, it makes no difference. | iStock.com/warrengoldswain

Don’t think you have to work out first thing in the morning to see results (though you’ll feel great if you do). Exercising at night has some surprising benefits, such as helping you wind down from a long day and building muscle faster. The best time of day to hit the gym is when you feel motivated and have the time.

Next: Exercise has some impressive side effects you might not have considered. 

Invisible ways your workouts are helping you

lunging with weights

You might not be able to tell, but exercise can impact your brain function, too. |  iStock.com

Regular exercise will definitely change your body, but it will also change your brain for the better. It can make you more confident, improve your memory, and destroy any negative reactions to stress, leading to a calmer life. As a result, there’s probably one real benefit of exercise you’ve never fully considered — and it can make you more successful in life.

Next: Could a promotion be in your future? 

Exercise makes you a better worker

Teenage worker in a fast food restaurant bored and leaning on the counter

Exercise can keep you energized and focused. | iStock.com/lisafx

Here’s one good reason to treat exercise like it’s part of your job: It could actually make you better at work. Exercising helps to balance your brain’s neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine), which are essential for proper brain function. Researchers have found even after one 35-minute aerobic treadmill session, creativity and cognitive flexibility — which are essential for most jobs — improve significantly.

Next: Exercise is a real career-booster. 

You’ll show up and be more present at work

Young man with glasses working on his notebook

The job benefits are noticeable. | iStock.com/NakoPhotography

Employees who exercise regularly (a minimum of 150 minutes per week) are less likely to call in sick, and they tend to focus more when they’re at work, according to Michael Mantell, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: P.S. It’s All Small Stuff. Being more focused at work also means you’ll get done faster, leaving more time to enjoy a healthy work-life balance.

Next: Incorporating a workout into your work day is easier than you think. 

Finding the time

Tourists take in some noontime water aerobics in the hotel pool

The trick is scheduling exercise into your daily life. | Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Of course, when you have a full-time job and other responsibilities, it’s not always easy to fit in time for fitness. But treating exercise like it’s part of your job could mean working out on your lunch break, which could end up boosting your productivity in the long run. If you have a desk job, scheduling a lunchtime workout will give you a much-needed break from sitting all day, which isn’t healthy.

Next: These effective workouts can all be done on your lunch break.

Lunchtime workouts that work

muscular young man drinking water

You can do a quick, effective workout on your lunch break. | iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

When you only have an hour (and part of that hour has to be spent showering and changing), you’ll need to find a workout that is both quick and effective. HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training) combine cardio and strength, torching calories and toning up your body. Best of all, most of them can be done in less than 30 minutes. Another option is to focus on targeting sculpting moves that won’t make you sweat, so you can slip back into the office with only a healthy glow.

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