5 Benefits of exercise you might not know about

Nov 29, 2012 at 12:30 p.m. ET

Exercise is great for shedding those stubborn pounds and keeping your heart in shape. But here are five benefits you may not have thought of that just might encourage you to make a little more time for a healthy, regular workout.

woman sleeping

Exercise can help you sleep better

If you suffer from insomnia, a little exercise can actually help you catch some shut-eye. Your body usually has difficulty sleeping when it's been stressed or overworked. These factors can also affect you mentally, which can make insomnia worse. Exercise can help alleviate stress — both physical and mental — making it easier for you to fall asleep when you turn the lights out.

Exercise can give you clearer skin

Many people may not be aware of this, but even a minimal exercise routine of 30 minutes three times per week can help keep your face blemish-free. How? The increase in blood circulation allows skin cells to regenerate faster. Plus it helps push impurities to the surface so they can be easily washed away every single day.

Exercise can make you more regular

We hate to talk about it, but it's happened to us all: constipation. Not only can it ruin our whole day, but it can make us look way more robust in the belly area than we'd like to. While a healthy diet should include plenty of fibre and liquids, regular exercise can help keep your bowels moving, preventing that awkward moment when you have to excuse yourself from a meeting at work to run to the bathroom and fight with your bowels.

Exercise can put you in a better mood

Feeling a little snappish lately? The stress at the office and the seemingly never-ending pile of work to do around the house are more than enough to tire you out and put you in a grumpy mood. Exercise releases endorphins into your body, which are chemicals transmitted to your brain, reminding it that you feel happy! Bonus: Regular exercise can also relieve stress and tension.

Exercise can get rid of back pain

While exercise may not be the only solution to your back pain, it can definitely help. Walking, jogging, biking, stretching, yoga and Pilates can all help alleviate recurring back pain by stretching out your muscles and making them stronger at the same time. If you're pregnant, back pain is likely to strike you, especially if you've suffered from it before. Moderate exercise several times a week can help reduce that pain and even make labour slightly easier. (We said slightly!)

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