Besides the obvious benefit of getting fit, several crucial benefits derive from exercise. Exercising releases endorphins which causes an amazing ripple effect of positive changes. The result? A better mood, more inspiration, pain reduction, more energy and reduced anxiety.

Whenever I have writer’s block, I go for a workout at She’s Fit and suddenly right there on the stair master I’m overcome with awesome article ideas. When endorphins are released, my mind starts working. I also love going to the gym before a date because a workout always puts me in a great mood right before my date (and a great mood ensures I’ll give a great first impression.) Here are 5 reasons you need to exercise more often:

1. Improve your mood

You’ll always be in a better mood after a workout. It’s not just because the workout itself releases endorphins, it’s also because you’ve now done something productive – something that’s great for your body – and that undoubtedly makes you feel good. You’ve heard your friends say things like “I’m going to go take my frustrations out at the gym” and they really mean it. You will feel much happier post-workout, which is exactly why it’s a great idea to hit the gym before you go on a date or go to a networking event. People you meet definitely notice what type of mood you’re in, and they’ll be attracted to the happier version of you. A great workout can leave you feeling euphoric, which is where the term “runner’s high” comes from.

2. Find inspiration

Like I said, I always cure my writer’s block by going to the gym. If you need to brainstorm, the perfect place to get the ideas flowing is at the gym because while you’re working hard on that exercise bike, your brain starts working too. Think of it this way: when you get your body moving and working, your mind starts working better. Whether you’re brainstorming ideas for a work project, or you just need ideas for your mom’s birthday gift – I’m willing to bet you’ll leave the gym with some great inspiration.

3. Pain reduction

For the ladies reading this: a cardio workout dramatically reduces the pain of cramps when it’s that time of the month. In a more general sense, exercise can help reduce back pain, tension headaches, muscle cramps or stiff joints. This is especially true if you commit to a stretching routine both before and after your workout and use a foam roller. Cardio is great for pain reduction but when it comes to weight-lifting, stick to a comfortable weight – nothing too heavy.

4. More energy

It’s a catch-22 in a sense: you’re often too tired to workout, and yet it’s exercise that will give you energy. Exercising results in more energy throughout the rest of the day. Not only will you feel more energetic after a workout, but your brain works better all day post-workout, too. The next time you feel too tired to hit the gym, just remember how much energy you’ll have once you actually begin your workout.

5. Reduced anxiety

The endorphins released when we exercise result in a major reduction in depression, stress and anxiety. Your mood can go from severely anxious to light-hearted and happy after a workout. Taking your stress out on the treadmill also gives you an opportunity to get those wheels turning, think through a problem and come up with a solution. The act of working out also boosts your self-esteem, which in itself reduces anxiety. If you feel on edge, a great workout class can actually allow your mind to feel more at ease and relaxed. If you’re feeling down, feel-good endorphins released through exercising will uplift your mood significantly. Now that you’re done reading this article, get changed into your gym clothes!

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