If you avoid the gym like the plague

You should start to exercise. You really, really should.

Granted, I’m biased. I’m kind of a work out fanatic, who will give up an hour of sleep before an hour of exercise. Since I started working out about five years ago, I’ve become hooked and I’m very devoted to my Pilates, weights, running and elliptical. But I know it’s a good obsession to have – it’s healthy, it keeps me energized, it makes me feel good, and who wouldn’t like to lose a few pounds? I’ve seen a lot of changes in myself since I started my own exercise regiment, and nearly all of them have been good.

But more and more, as I’m reading my news and fitness magazines (Women’s Health, Fitness, U.S. News and World Report, and Newsweek to be exact), I’m finding all these surprising reasons to keep working out and keep nagging those people I know who don’t.

So, if you don’t think you’re missing out by skipping out on the gym, take a look at the list below. All of these came from research studies and science/fitness experts, and many of them I can confirm from personal experience.

What exercise can do for you:

-Increase your energy level

-Improve your sleep and help you fall asleep faster

-Lower your stress level

-Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol

-Strengthen your joints, helping prevent arthritis

-Strengthen your bones, helping prevent osteoporosis

-Improve your memory

-Keep your mind sharp down the road, helping prevent dementia

-Improve your focus and concentration

-Keep your skin clear and enhance your natural color

-Make your hair grow faster

-Make your hair shinier

-Increase your sex drive

-Increase your metabolism (especially by lifting weights)

-Help prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease

-Improve your lung capacity and breathing

-Help your circulation and heart health

-Improve your posture, making you look thinner even if you’re not

-Strengthen your back, helping prevent back pain

-Strengthen muscles and improve muscle tone, also making you look thinner

-Boost your immune system

-Decrease food and cigarette cravings

-Keep you regular

-Reduce headaches and hypertension

-Improve your flexibility

-Oh, and exercising burns fat and calories, too

So no matter what you do, exercise! It helps your body, your mind, your health, your productivity and your life expectancy. You really have no excuse not to.

Okay? Okay.

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