Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Sound familiar? You’re not alone; between the vacuum of a full-time job, the need to recover and the demands of friends, family and significant others, the time-poor modern man can’t always find a gap to fit a workout into.
Sure, your local might be a more hospitable environment than the gym, but that same mindset is depriving you of benefits beyond a mirror-muscle physique. Here, we explore some of exercise’s unexpected pluses.
1. You’ll Feel Better
Dread the mornings prior to a big meeting? Schedule 30 minutes for a morning run or 15 minutes for high-intensity exercise to banish those Monday blues.
“Exercise increases production of serotonin and dopamine within the body,” says personal trainer and strength & conditioning specialist Rogan Allport. “This leads to an elevation in mood, an improved sleep pattern, and a greater sense of wellness.”
With mental health a prevailing problem amongst modern men, exercise provides an element of control over your own life. (A gym membership works out cheaper than a therapist, at any rate.)
2. You’ll Make Less Noise
Relegated to the sofa by your partner? It might be that spare tyre which is causing your snoring problem – and the solution could lie in pounding the pavement.
Research by the University of Eastern Finland found sleep apnea, one of the chief causes of excessive snoring, can be alleviated by a weight loss of just 5 per cent. This is because less fat lessens the chance of weight constricting your throat. Combined with the improved sleep pattern provided by frequent exercise, you can swap counting sheep for counting reps.
3. You’ll Have More Sex
Yet another reason for your partner to appreciate your workout, and why shifting tin should be part of every man’s regime. Lifting weights triggers production of the male sex hormone testosterone, and its benefits aren’t just restricted to your T-shirt.
“Elevated testosterone helps the body reinvigorate your confidence and your sex drive,” says Allport. Looking better is almost incidental – either way, your bedfellow(s) is bound to appreciate your newfound vigour.
4. You’re Safeguarding Your Future
Heart disease. Diabetes. Alzheimer’s. What if we told you one habit could act as a catch-all preventative?
According to the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease, exercise can stall coronary heart disease by positively impacting causes like high cholesterol and blood pressure. The Journal of Clinical Neurology also found exercise promoted the formation of new neurons in the brain, helping stave off diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Lace up your shoes to stay healthy – the benefits are more than just skin-deep.
5. It Keeps You Feeling Young…
A chemical named myostatin lurks in your body, inhibiting cellular growth in your muscles by around 15 per cent according to the journal Aging Cell. As you age, your muscle simply wastes away, leaving your body increasingly frail.
One way to reduce the presence of this chemical is by lifting weights. In addition to shrinking the existing myostatin in your body, more muscle means the wastage process takes longer, leaving you with more time to enjoy being fit, healthy and mobile. Think of each hour in the gym as adding another onto your life span.
6…And Looking Young, Too
Ever wondered why healthy people have that irritating glow about them? It’s because getting your heart rate up is good for the skin.
During vigorous exercise, more blood flows to every organ in the body including the skin, which kick-starts the production of collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and makes up 70 per cent of protein in the skin. More exercise equals more collagen, which equals healthier, younger-looking skin. Forget that eye cream, what your grooming regime really needs is a brisk 10k.