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‘Getting fit’ not cutting it?

Published on December 13, 2016

‘Getting fit’ not cutting it?

Alyssa Monson, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Weight Management

Getting fitIs the thought of getting in shape or losing weight not enough to keep you motivated to hit the gym? Check out five non-fitness-related benefits of exercise to find your motivation to get in some daily physical activity.

  1. Reduce stress and improve sleep. Rough day at the office? Take a breather and go for a walk or head to the gym after work. Stress relief is one of the most common benefits of exercise. Exercise increases concentrations of chemicals that can improve the brain’s response to stress.
    Consider moving that workout to five to six hours before bedtime to improve sleep while also reducing stress. Moving around five to six hours before bedtime raises the body’s core body temperature. When the body temperature drops back to normal a few hours later, it signals the body that it’s time to sleep.
  2. Boost happy chemicals. Sometimes we might feel too tired to get off the couch. Good news! Physical activity releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. Don’t worry if physical activity is not your thing, being physically active for just 30 minutes a few times a week can boost overall mood.
  3. Improve self-confidence. Many people exercise to lose weight and look better, but exercise can actually boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image regardless of weight, size, gender or age.
  4. Keep your brain in tip top shape. Regular physical activity can prevent cognitive decline and boost memory. As aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kill off brain cells, the noggin actually shrinks — losing many important brain functions in the process. While exercise and a healthy diet can’t “cure” Alzheimer’s, they can help protect the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45.
    Additionally, a study showed that physical activity increased vocabulary retention among healthy adults. So even if you aren’t approaching 45, your brain will still benefit from more activity.
  5. Get more done and tap into creativity. Feeling uninspired? The solution might be just a short walk or jog away. Research shows that individuals who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. A bout of physical activity can boost creativity and productivity for up to two hours afterwards.

Health information accessed through is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

About the Author

Alyssa Monson, RD

Alyssa Monson
Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Weight Management
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