What do Rocky Balboa, Jean Claude Van Damme and Batman have in common? Besides being manly men in movies that guys love, all three improve their moods by working out. If you want to know how to live an unboring life, just look at Batman…
The “Big Five” Benefits of Exercise
All three of these heroes train to defeat their foes, but their shared post-workout perkiness is no coincidence. Numerous studies show that working up a sweat delivers five major benefits:
Combats depression: Exercise causes your brain to release feel-good chemicals (endorphins) and reduce production of immune system chemicals that can worsen depression.
Boosts self-esteem: Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your confidence. Getting in shape will also make you feel better about your appearance. You may not look as buff as Rocky right away, but trust us, a bit of extra tone and firmness gets noticed.
Reduces stress: Exercise is a great way to release pent-up energy. In addition, an increase in body temperature has an overall calming effect.
Wards off anxiety: Working out is a healthy distraction that disrupts the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety.
Prevents erectile dysfunction: Research suggests that exercise reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction by about 50%!
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Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.