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25 ways exercise can change your life

If you are only exercising to lose weight, you may find it hard to stick to your goal. It can take a few weeks or months to see changes in your outward appearance; thankfully, there are numerous ways exercise improves your health from the inside out. Some exercise benefits are immediate, which can give you that extra push when you want to quit.

"It can be difficult to stick with your resolution if you're only looking for results in the mirror," says Sharrell Porter, M.S. ACSM EP-C, an exercise physiologist at Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center.

She recommends focusing on a health-related goal, like lowering blood pressure, reducing stress or sleeping better.

"I have people come in for a training session and they don't want to exercise," says Porter. "However, by the end of their session, they feel better and are ready to tackle more in their day. I also get texts from clients who say exercise helped them sleep better that night, even if they normally struggle with insomnia or other sleep issues."

Besides weight loss, exercise can change your life in numerous positive ways. Remember this list next time you are discouraged.

Research shows regular workouts can:  

  1. Boost your mood

  2. Build agility

  3. Decrease your future healthcare costs

  4. Decrease your risk of metabolic syndrome

  5. Delay onset of dementia

  6. Give you more confidence

  7. Help you sleep better

  8. Improve creativity

  9. Improve fertility

  10. Improve your posture

  11. Improve your skin

  12. Increase your energy

  13. Increase your flexibility and range of motion

  14. Lengthen your life

  15. Lower your risk of injury

  16. Make your DNA younger

  17. Protect your heart

  18. Reduce back pain

  19. Reduce chronic pain

  20. Reduce stress

  21. Relieve PMS symptoms

  22. Slow cognitive decline

  23. Strengthen your bones

  24. Strengthen your joints

  25. Support your eye health

Celebrate exercise results

While outward physical changes may not be apparent right away, if you are exercising regularly, eating healthy foods and sticking with reasonable portions, you should notice a difference within a month or so.

"You might not see a change, but others will start noticing," she says. "Just because you aren't focusing on your appearance at first doesn't mean your appearance won't change."

Get more Living Better fitness tips.

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