When it comes to benefits of exercises, I am sure anyone can name a few without thinking, i.e., help you lose weight, prevent illness, slow down aging, etc. However, these benefits are somewhat long term that will take months if not years before they become obvious. Unless you are highly self-disciplined and extremely patient, which you can skip this article, the rest of us REALLY NEED some instant results to keep us motivated. Today, I will share some instant benefits of exercise that have helped me stick to my workout routines over the years. I assigned to each benefit an effective time length and ordered them in an ascending fashion. So even if you have zero-patient, there are still a few for you to take-away.
#1 Improve your Mood (Instant)
When life gets stressful, exercise has never failed to save my day. It is very effective in keeping me distracted from the source of stress, which serves a nice short break. This is particularly true for boxing, as I am way too busy trying to keep up with the forever changing combos (Michael never makes it easy)! Also, exercises trigger your brain to release extra endorphin, dopamine, and serotonin, powerful chemicals to energize your spirit and make you feel good. They are the same chemicals in most antidepressant prescription drugs like Zoloft, and even most of the illegal drugs like heroin. Except that exercise is a healthy addiction and completely side-effect free.
#2 Continuous Calorie Burn (Up to 48 hours)
Another beauty of exercise is that the calorie burn doesn’t stop when you finish exercising, but it carries on for at least a day at a diminishing rate. This means that even if you are not active for the rest of the day, you are still burning more calories for that time period than a day without exercise. I did an experiment using my Fitbit watch. On a day with an hour of Hi Team Training Cardio Boxing as my only exercise activity, my total calorie burn is about 2,000, minus the 290 calories from the workout, so all non-active times account for the rest 1,710. This is 18% higher than the total calorie burn on a non-exercise day (1,450 on average)!
#3 Better Sleep (A few hours)
Are you tired of the endless tossing and turning at night? Try to squeeze in an exercise during the day and you will see a big difference. One possible explanation is that the exercise increases the body temperature, which allows a post-exercise temperature drop that promotes better sleep. Note that for people who haven’t been active and have chronic insomnia, this change might take a few months to become prominent. One important thing to keep in mind is the timing of exercise. While an early morning or afternoon exercise can help better sleep, a late night exercise can make things worse.
#4 Say Goodbye to Expensive Skin Care Products (A week or two)
This came to me as an unexpected bonus! I didn’t realize this until my friends and family started to ask me what skin care products I am using as my skin looks much better, no pimples or redness. Truth to be told, the total value of my skin care products are no more than $40 ($9 facial cleanser + $9 toner + $11 facial cream)! Of course, a workout once in a blue moon won’t do it. The change started to happen after I increased my workout to 3 to 4 times a week. For people who are nerdy like me, here is the science behind the scene. When you exercise, two things will happen, increasing blood flow and body temperature (heat generated from muscle). As the skin serves as a release point for heat, the heat further increases the blood flow shuttled to your skin, which delivers extra oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health.
Are you motivated after reading this far? Sweat today and shine every day!