6 Reasons To Exercise Other Than Looking Sexy AF

6 Reasons To Exercise Other Than Looking Sexy AF
Photo by Gabin Vallet / Unsplash

Look beyond the six-pack abs and gain the real benefits.

How many days have you found yourself on the couch, doomscrolling through Instagram, bombarded by an endless feed of shredded bodies and fitness influencers all peddling the same message?

It’s all about getting fit and looking hot, often with just a sprinkle of wellness to avoid seeming entirely superficial.

But deep down, you’re thinking, “Is there more to exercise than just looking good?” Of course, there is!

Now, I get it. You’re sitting there, maybe feeling a bit lost in the sea of the new fitness trends. Last year it was CrossFit, now it’s lifting heavy weights, tomorrow it will be walking on your hands while balancing a dinner table on your feet.

The overwhelm can be real. We’ve all been there, questioning the point of it all. But let me tell you something, and this is straight from the heart: exercise isn’t just about looking good. It’s about feeling good, being strong, and owning your journey, regardless of the mirror’s opinion.

If a drug out there had all the benefits of exercise, it would win a Nobel prize. Yet, so many of us exercise in the vain pursuit of looking great. Sure, looking great is important to a lot of people. It can help us gain self-confidence in the world.

Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

The Invisible Benefit To Exercise

Exercise is not a cure-all for mental health ailments. If you have crippling anxiety, going for a run won’t make it go away. However, exercise can help take the edge off of everything.

I like to think of exercise as helping by about 10%. It’s not going to be a cure-all for mental health issues but it may help clear out your mind to make better decisions.

There’s been evidence that exercise can help reduce depression even for those with a higher genetic predisposition to the condition. It showed that 35 minutes of exercise each day could help reduce the risk of depression.

Now if you suffer from depression, exercise and don’t see the benefits, there are still many more benefits to exercise that can help.

Physical Health

Become immortal or surf on sharks while juggling chainsaws? Exercise can’t do those things, but what it can do is significantly lower your risk of all-cause mortality.

Studies show that those who exercise two to four times a week might lower their mortality risk by as much as 31%.

We are all going to die someday. That is a fact. But exercise can help add value to the quality of your life in those years.

I don’t want my body to degenerate from lack of use. If my body degenerates, it’s going to be on my terms.

No matter what your age is, it’s not too late for you. A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Associationshowed that those who went from unfit to fit in 5 years had a reduction in their mortality risk of 44%.

If you think it’s too late for you, it’s not. You can still turn things around.

Exercise Your Brain and Body

Do you ever feel stuck on a problem in your life but you don’t know how to fix it? Anytime I feel this way, I go for a run and let my mind think.

I look at it as a way to let my brain decompress like giving a computer some time to update.

When you exercise, your body pumps more oxygen and nutrients into your brain. It helps release the endorphins that can change the way you think and process information.

This isn’t just for the short term either. A study from the University of California, Irvine, found that a single workout can improve your ability to learn new motor skills.

Next time you’re trying to learn something new, go out for a light exercise to break up the day. I wouldn’t recommend taking 4 scoops of pre-workout and doing back-to-back Crossfit sessions. That may burn you out a little bit. Take it easy and do something that you know you’ll still have the energy to think about when you get back. It will add a boost.

Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing on Unsplash

Spice Up The Bedroom From Exercise

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff. For men, exercise has shown to be as effective as Viagra.

It makes sense. Exercise boosts blood flow, strengthens the heart and muscles and better circulation leads to better sexual function.

For women, improved blood flow also enhances arousal and sensitivity.

I know this article is about the benefits of exercise OTHER than looking sexy AF but the effect of looking AND feeling better is undeniable in the confidence factor.

Looking great all the time isn’t a realistic standard but feeling better about yourself can be.

The Dreams You’ll Never Forget

When I exercise hard enough that I fall asleep right away, it’s a great day.

There’s nothing fun about tossing and turning all night. Exercise can be an antidote for that.

One of the key factors to sleep is a change in your body’s core body temperature as stated in Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep. Exercise causes changes in your body’s temperature and when it’s time to relax, it can help you indicate to your body that it is now time to rest.

A good night of sleep requires you to check the boxes in many of the sections that I wrote about above. If you’re anxious, you probably won’t get good sleep. If you’re in poor physical health, you probably won’t get good sleep.

Sleep is one of the most essential things that we can do for recovery for the brain and body. Making sure that we get enough of it is a pillar for our health and exercise is one avenue to make sure we get the best quality as well.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Connect and Thrive Through Exercise

I’m sure there’s been a time or two in all our lives where we have felt alone. I know I certainly have.

When gyms closed down during COVID, one of the things that I missed the most was going to a kettlebell gym that was a few miles away from me.

Whether it’s participating in an intramural sport, a yoga class, or CrossFit, you can undoubtedly build social camaraderie with fellow participants. It’s a great way to make some new friends and get into great shape.

Being around people who have similar goals as you can be inspiring. If you have a little bit of the competition gene, you’ll also want to outdo them as well. Pushing each other in a fun and healthy way builds connections with people.

Many years ago, I got into doing GoRuck Challenges. They’re these grueling 12-hour rucks that are team events and the entire point of them is to build a camaraderie and learn to work well as a team.

I will say, that it works. Some of the people that I only knew for those 12 hours, I feel like I still have a connection with from doing that event. It’s a special feeling when you accomplish something difficult with someone.

Remember Your Why

Looking great can be a benefit of exercise but let’s face it, we are not going to look young and sexy forever. Eventually looks fade with everyone.

However, exercise offers more than what’s depicted in social media posts; it’s about building relationships and nurturing the person underneath, who is striving for improvement beyond mere physical appearance. There’s a person underneath who is trying to better themselves in more ways than the physical output we perceive.

We don’t need to physically exert ourselves to stay alive anymore but we need to exercise and feel alive.

Whether it’s your first day in the gym or your ten-thousandth, remember that you’re doing this for more than just six-pack abs and gym selfies. You’re doing this to build a better version of yourself.

Accomplishing your goals is a lot easier when you set yourself up for the week. That’s why I started the Setup Sunday Newsletter at Running Relentless. Every Sunday morning I will send out an email on how I am setting myself up for the week and questions you should ask yourself on how you can set yourself up.