Can we agree that everyone would like to function at their highest level and feel their best? I don’t think I’m out on a limb with that statement. The issue isn’t in the ‘want to’… we all have that desire, even if we’ve forgotten it. The issue is in the commitment. To what are we willing to commit as a means of achieving optimal health and performance? It’s like this; think of your body as a high-performance vehicle. We’ll say Ferrari for this example. If you were given a Ferrari, would you fill it with cheap regular gasoline and no name oil? Hell no. You’d use premium gas and put Shell Ultra Helix in that sucker. (Yes, I’m a car geek) Would you leave your Ferrari in the garage and never take it out for a spin? Or would you rip that beast out every chance you got? Hint – there’s only one acceptable answer to that question.
And there’s only one acceptable answer to the question of “Should I commit to performing at my highest level by putting the best foods (fuel) into my body and consistently engaging in an exercise routine. YES!
This isn’t just about vanity. There’s more to working out than just ripped abs and bulging biceps. Although those are great by-products. This is about getting the most out of life and giving it back…one in the same if you want to get philosophical about it. But before I go full-on Aristotle, let’s just stick to the tangible benefits of putting down the Doritos and picking up the dumbbells. A regular fitness routine has been shown to do everything from cut cancer and stroke risk to build stronger muscles and bones to encourage better brain health and digestion.
Here are my top 9 reasons to get your ass off the couch and into the gym:
Regular bouts of intense exercise can boost your testosterone levels, improve your circulation, and elevate your mood and self-esteem. The better your circulation, the less likely you will suffer from sexual dysfunction. Real life application: You look and feel better which makes you more attractive and more attracted, which in turn results in you getting your groove on regularly. All those in favor of knocking boots like an all-star raise your hand. That’s what I thought.
So much for the dumb jock stereotype. Studies show working out increases the blood being pumped to the brain and encourage higher levels of healthy chemicals called brain-derived nerve growth factors. We’re talking about more than being able to remember where you put your car keys. Two studies presented at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s disease showed that older people who exercised consistently had significantly less cognitive impairment than those who did not spend time working out.
If you’re a guy in your twenties and reading this article, I’m going to assume you occasionally venture away from your laptop and find yourself on a beach. I know times are changing, but one thing remains constant; chicks dig muscles. If that seems too shallow for you, try this – Men who are in better shape get hired and promoted more easily than guys who are carrying around a body built on donuts and burritos. The physically attractive can earn an average of 3 or 4 percent more than people with below-average looks. Muscles = Money. For those of us who’ve navigated through our third decade the case for working out gets even stronger. As men enter their thirties, forties, and fifties, testosterone levels and muscle mass start to decline. It’s like a cruel joke. We bust our balls to get ahead in life and by the time we’ve amassed enough money to enjoy ourselves, we’re too fat to fit behind the wheel of the sports car we always wanted. As we age, it’s imperative we increase or maintain our muscle mass through strength training, not only because it keeps us looking good, but also because muscle mass is essential for strength, balance, fat burning, and hormonal optimization.
Stress comes in many forms, both physical and mental. Weight training reduces elevated levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Working out combats stress by releasing increased levels of serotonin, otherwise known as the happy hormone. Keeping your hormones in balance by hitting the gym 3-4 days per week can keep depression and anxiety at bay, and help you cope with stress-associated mood disorders.
Have you ever had an inexplicable pain shoot through your body? Maybe you grab a door handle and your wrist screams in agony. Or you take off running to catch the train and your hip feels like it just got hit with a baseball bat. It’s possible that you are experiencing a thinning of your bones associated with osteoporosis. I know when you think osteoporosis, images of an old man stooped over and walking with a cane run through your head. But the fact is that we reach our maximum bone density by age 30. After that bone resorption (the breakdown and absorption of old bone) slowly overtakes bone formation. Resistance training consistently can help prevent osteoporosis.
If you’re not eliminating after every meal (that means hitting the crapper), then your digestion is not as healthy as it should be. To achieve your optimal hormonal environment, your body needs to hang onto the important nutritional components of what you eat and get rid of the rest. A lack of exercise is a major contributing factor to constipation. Removing processed foods from your daily food intake, and exercising regularly can improve the functioning of your digestive system and contribute greatly to your overall health.
Avoid the Big C
Working out has beneficial effects on the immune and surveillance systems that detect and kill cancer cells, improve cardio-respiratory status, strengthen hormonal profiles, and regulate metabolism.
Since fear motivates better than reward, I’ll put it this way: Inactivity is associated with increased risk for several cancers, including colon cancer. Studies have shown that regular exercise has been linked to a decreased risk of developing cancer, death from cancer, and recurrence of certain cancers. Work Out Now & You May Avoid Cancer Later!
Decreased Stroke Risk
Here’s a no-brainer… two of the greatest risk factors for strokes are high blood pressure and heart disease. Exercise improves the strength of your heart and promotes better circulation, thereby reducing the risk of stroke. In a published study, it was documented that there is a reduction in stroke risk for active or fit individuals compared with inactive or unfit persons. It was concluded that highly active individuals had a 27% lower risk of stroke incidence or mortality than did low-active individuals.
Better Skin Health
Remember that stuff we said about ‘look good, feel good, make more money and have more sex?’ Another benefit of the increase in blood flow exercise provides is better skin. A clean diet and regular exercise promote oxygen and essential nutrients being carried to cells throughout the body and waste products being escorted out. Relieving stress through exercise can help clear your skin of inflammation and subsequent blemishes.
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