Top 15 Benefits of Exercise

From improved cognitive functioning and a higher metabolic rate, to disease prevention and weight-maintenance, there are many scientifically-based reasons to exercise. I thought it might be entertaining (maybe I need to get out more) to look at the Mayo Clinic’s top 7 benefits of exercise, then make my own list of why people *really* exercise!


1. Improves mood – decreases stress, helps stave off depression, increases self-esteem, happiness & is relaxing; all to do with brain chemicals.

2. Combats chronic diseases – We in the fitness industry have been shouting about this for years. But is anyone listening? Noooooo. Too bad, I’m going to shout it again: most chronic diseases can be prevented or managed with exercise – hypertension, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, abnormal cholesterol levels, stroke, arthritis. While we’re at it, you should also quit smoking!

3. Helps manage weight – Forget all that crazy talk pre-printed on the machines about fat-burning zones: a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. In a simple sentence that includes a verb, engaging in exercise causes you to burn calories. If you burn them, you aren’t storing them!

4. Boosts energy level – When people say “I’m doing my cardio,” they are secretly talking about Biology 101. The cardiovascular system is more efficient when it’s all “exercised up.” Go Heart! Go Blood Vessels! While we’re here: Go Lungs!

5. Promotes better sleep – As long as I don’t exercise right before bedtime, I can improve..zzzzzzzzz. snort.

6. Has positive effect on sex life – Women: Hello arousal! Men: Goodbye erectile dysfunction. Nuff said. Shut up and dance.

7. Can be fun – Okay, most of the people who live on* this* planet might wonder about the fun part, but obviously the researchers at the Mayo Clinic are whooping it up!

Alexandra Williams

Alexandra Williams, MA (counseling) is one-half of humorous expert fitness advice columnists, Fun and Fit, which she writes with her identical twin sister, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA.

2 thoughts on “Top 15 Benefits of Exercise

  • January 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Isn’t #6 the same as #5? Better sex always improves my sleep. ;)

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the bragging advantage. I love to tell people I did a 2 day 150 mile bike ride. Or a 50 mile very hilly bike ride. Wait, was that bragging?

    …and I would rather have the 28 year old unfit body. But that’s just me.

    • January 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks for the comments, Sarah. We can work a deal, I’m sure. You can have all the 28-year-old squishies and I’ll take the 60-year-old hotties. I’m sure sleep and sex figure in there somewhere!


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