By Calvin Huynh, Certified Trainer
On the surface, people get into fitness to look leaner, get stronger, and improve their health. That's all great and dandy, but what many don't realize is that fitness will enhance every other aspect of life outside the gym as well. In other words, it makes just about everything better.
So stop thinking so rigid in terms of benefits. Impressing your gym bros is cute, but here's what else fitness can do for you.
Many people are constantly complaining about how they wish they could get more done. They'll yap about being unproductive, look up lame motivational quotes, and yell cheesy affirmations in the mirror.
The gym might be the answer you're overlooking. Exercise has been shown to improve workload and time management on days you workout (1). Furthermore, strength training specifically has been shown to improve brain function, particularly executive function as well as preserving brain health (2).
That'll handily translate to your professional environment. Plus, it doesn't hurt to be both fitter and smarter than your colleagues. Something worth bragging about on occasion.
Pain Free Movement
If you don't exercise consistently, as you age, pain invites itself to live all over your joints like rude houseguests. Don't believe me? Ask any older inactive family members you know. They'll testify about how their back, hips, or knees feel weak and achy.
The clear solution is to lift and move. Strength training has been shown to improve both muscle and joint pain even in those diagnosed with severe issues (3,4). It'll build stability, increase blood flow, and enforce good movement patterns.
Simply put, fit people are more resilient, get to move with their kids pain free, and can open pickle jars without asking for help, all while avoiding that creepy physical therapist down the street.
You know that hot co-worker you've been crushing on that last few months? Yeah, fitness can help you with that too. Ok, maybe you won't marry her next weekend, but fitness can do wonders for your confidence, not to mention your physique.
Some of the most jacked bodybuilders and coaches you know started off as insecure little boys and girls lifting 5 lb. dumbbells. With consistency and effort, they're able to break out of their shells and build confidence as they progress in the gym. It's sometimes subtle and can take patience, but it's one of the best benefits of fitness.
One study on this topic found, the more frequently you exercised, the more self-esteem you gain along with enhancing attractiveness (5). It also found fit couples are better at sex and have more of it. That alone should be enough for you to take your fitness seriously. I mean, do you really want to live a sexless life, feeling unconfident every time you approach the opposite sex?
More Money in the Bank
A recent survey of over 2000 people found a correlation between those who exercise and higher income levels. People who exercise made $25,000 more in yearly income on average (6). That's a whopping number that honestly, I wouldn't even have predicted.
Keep in mind, this is correlational, so exercise doesn't magically add money to your bank just from stepping foot inside a gym. What's more likely the case, is the increased confidence, happiness, and productivity eventually leads to a better life. They essentially go hand in hand. Still, not a bad statistic to keep in mind. I'm sure we could all do a lot with an extra 25,000 a year.
More Than Just Abs and Deadlift PRs
Exercise is more than just about getting abs and setting personal records. It exponentially enhances all other areas of your life. If you're ever looking for a magic pill to just turbo charge through life, fitness can be that pill.
If you've been slacking off, it's time to hit the gym. In just a few months, you'll be so glad you did my friend.
- "Exercising at Work and Self‐Reported Work Performance. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/17538350810926534/full/html.
- Herold, Fabian, et al. "Functional and/or Structural Brain Changes in Response to Resistance Exercises and Resistance Training Lead to Cognitive Improvements - a Systematic Review. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity : Official Journal of the European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity, BioMed Central, 10 July 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31333805.
- McDonald, M., et al. "Resistance Exercise Improves Muscle Strength, Health Status and Pain Intensity in Fibromyalgia-a Randomized Controlled Trial. Arthritis Research & Therapy, BioMed Central, 1 Jan. 1970, arthritis-research.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13075-015-0679-1.
- Baillet, et al. "Efficacy of Resistance Exercises in Rheumatoid Arthritis: Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 24 Nov. 2011, academic.oup.com/rheumatology/article/51/3/519/1796970.
- Young, Michael. "Sexual Desirability and Sexual Performance: Does Exercise and Fitness Really Matter? ResearchGate, 2004, www.researchgate.net/publication/280685925_Sexual_desirability_and_sexual_performance_Does_exercise_and_fitness_really_matter.
- Freeletics. "New Study Reveals Strong Connection Between Regular Exercise and Happiness, Financial Wellness, and Sociability. PR Newswire: Press Release Distribution, Targeting, Monitoring and Marketing, 27 June 2018, www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-study-reveals-strong-connection-between-regular-exercise-and-happiness-financial-wellness-and-sociability-300663984.html.
Calvin Huynh is a trainer, online coach, and joyful ruler behind AwesomeFitnessScience.com. He loves helping people live healthier lives with bodies that are irresistibly hot. He despises misinformation and is on a mission to correct that in the fitness industry. When he’s not coaching, he spends his time writing articles, dreaming of unicorns, and eating whole pints of ice cream. Keep up with Calvin on Instagram.
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