3 Surprising Benefits of Physical Activity

Some surprising benefits of physical activity fall outside of the steady stream of publications about its impact on obesity, strokes, and heart attacks. Here are three benefits that are quite important on a personal level. Yet they’re often overlooked.

  1. Better Skin.Run Free Researchers from McMaster University conducted a series of studies on the benefits of physical activity on skin aging. They studied moderate to vigorous physical activity. Subjects with sufficient levels of activity showed fewer signs of aging skin. In a subsequent pre/post test, they found that an intervention of physical activity in sedentary individuals led to a reduction in signs of skin aging.
  2. Better Mood. Multiple studies have shown that physical activity is associated with a reduction in depression and anxiety. Further studies suggest that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression, and in some cases, anxiety. It’s worth noting that exercise has not been shown to be as effective as drug therapy for anxiety disorders.
  3. Better Sex. Physical activity can improve sexual function in both men and women. Beneficial effects on sexual arousal in women and reduced erectile dysfunction in men have been observed in clinical studies.

No doubt about it, finding pleasure in staying active can improve many aspects of life. And then comes the opportunity to enjoy a longer life.

“The quality of life is more important than life itself.” — Alexis Carrel

Click here to read more in the New York Times, here to read more from Medical Daily, here to read more from the Mayo Clinic, here to read more from Current Opinion in Clinical Psychiatry, and here to read more from the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine.

Sweaty Skin, photograph © Jo Andre Johansen / flickr

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