6 benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with looks

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A lack of exercise is the cause of several chronic diseasesreport it National Library of Medicine, including some that are leading causes of death in the black community, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Even though exercise can prolong life, Americans don’t do enough of it. In fact, a survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Gympass found that almost half of respondents said they were too busy to work out. Ironically, nearly 80% also said they felt happier when they stuck to an exercise routine.

All of this to say, there’s a very good reason to celebrate National Fitness Day – a day dedicated to focusing on physical and mental health. But it’s no secret that many fitness messages can have to do with body image. And in a society trying to move away from fixing body image, exercise needs a rebrand. that’s why MADAMENOIR lists several benefits of exercise that have nothing to do with your appearance.

Add structure to your day

Talk before yoga class

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If you find it difficult to develop a daily routine, exercise can help. Knowing that you hit the gym or go for a run at a set time each day encourages you to do more planning, identifying pockets of time around your fitness routine to accomplish other tasks. Professors from Rutgers and Ohio State University have looked at the habits of healthy people and found that those with a routine schedule are happier. So, because working out imposes a routine on your day, you might feel happier.

Acquire self-discipline

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Exercise is a simple way to practice a habit associated with success: doing something you don’t feel like doing. This is otherwise known as self-discipline. Repeatedly doing something that brings you closer to your goals, even when you don’t feel like it, strengthens your brain and puts you in that “no excuses” mindset. In fact, research from the National Library of Medicine found that people experience an overall increase in feelings of control, competence, and self-esteem after exercise. If you can run those five miles when you don’t feel like it, there’s no limit to what else you can do.


High angle shot of two young women talking during a yoga class

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Depending on the type of exercise you do, training can be social. You can join a fitness class and befriend other attendees, grab a coffee, and hang out afterwards. Or, you can just join a gym and get to know the other members and staff. This can be especially helpful for those who work from home and don’t have much interaction with their profession, as socializing is important for mental health.

Sponsor a small business

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You can use your workout as a way to patronize a small business or entrepreneur. Buy a membership to a black-owned gym or boxing studio in your town (we’ve named a few we like here). Know a personal trainer who is building their client list and could use a little help? Engage them for some sessions. Get your workout gear or wardrobe from a small company. If spending your money on local businesses is important to you, the fitness industry is full of it.

Get a cute workout wardrobe

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No one can fault you for loving the opportunity to do a little shopping. Maybe for you, if the wardrobe is cute, you’ll do the damn thing. A large office cabinet motivates you for a new job. A great workout wardrobe might make you want to hit the gym. Plus, some workout clothes today are so cute you’ll just want to wear them for running errands around town. (We’ve listed the black-owned fitness wardrobe brands we love here).

I feel happy

Woman working out on a treadmill

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Research from the National Library of Medicine shows that even short bursts of exercise increase levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain, which helps you feel happier. Forget about feeling happier because your dress size goes down or the number on the scale goes down. You don’t even have to wait for these results to feel energized. Just exercising makes you happier, right away. It’s just science.

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Richard V. Johnson