Research has long supported the benefits of exercise, from weight control to reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer. Regular workouts strengthen your bones and muscles, increase your flexibility, and help you stay active and mobile as you age, helping you live longer.

Exercise’s effect on mental health and mood is no exception—it’s as effective in treating minor depression as therapy and prescription drugs. The mood-enhancing benefits apply for everyone. Here are 4 ways:

ExerciseImproves Cognitive Performance 
Research suggests that even short bouts of intensive exercise during your workday can increase performance and productivity.

Exercise Helps Reduce Pain
Everyone knows about the “runner’s high,” a feeling of pain reduction that accompanies lengthy bouts of exercise. Research suggests that you don’t have to run marathons to see the pain-reducing benefits of exercise—even low-impact activities like water aerobics can help reduce pain.

PeopleWho Exercise Report Having Better Romantic Relationships 
Researchers aren’t sure of the reason. It could be that exercise makes you feel better about yourself. Maybe it improves your sex life. Or perhaps the good mood it puts you in helps smooth over any issues you might have with your romantic partner.

ExercisePredicts Happiness
Studies continue to show that people who exercise are happier—no surprise considering all the elements above coming together!

If you’re vulnerable to depression or seasonal affective disorder, exercise should be one of your mainstays. And even if you don’t struggle with those issues, hitting the gym can still give you positive effects that are well worth it.


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