Hitting the gym to get ready for bathing suit season? Good idea, but there are many more benefits to exercise than looking hot in the sun and sand. Physical activity may help you perform better mentally and sexually, as well as reduce your risk of a number of diseases.
Getting your heart pumping improves blood flow throughout the body, meaning better circulation to the brain and pelvis. This alone gets you thinking more clearly and may get you aroused more easily. Moreover, this increased flow can keep your circadian rhythm in check so that you'll sleep better at night—and we all know how numerous the benefits of a good night's rest are.
The long-term benefits of exercise are even more impressive. When building your biceps and abs, don't forget that you're doing a great thing for an even more important muscle: the heart. Physical activity ups the level of a cholesterol-clearing hormone in the body, called adiponectin. This naturally occurring chemical also helps keep your glucose levels in check, which is great for cardiovascular health as well as your metabolic well-being, potentially helping to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
While diet may have a bigger impact on losing fat immediately, those pounds are less likely to stay at bay unless you gain muscle mass and improve your metabolism through exercise. Muscle burns calories as well as excess glucose in the body, even when at rest. As such, having a lean body means putting in work for the long haul, an effort that will be well worth it, particularly if you have a family history of diabetes or cancer.
That's right, cancer. Physical activity may even prevent the development of malignant tumors, though researchers have a tough time pinpointing why. It's thought that factors like increased circulation, insulin regulation and a well-functioning metabolism may all help to stave off cancer.