Most people know that routine exercise does a body good. While exercise is a great way to lose weight and reduce the risk for various illnesses, additional benefits of regular exercise might surprise even those most enthusiastic about fitness.

  • Exercise produces positive psychological benefits. WebMD notes that there are several psychological benefits of routine exercise. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins (hormones that interact with receptors in the brain that reduce a person’s perception of pain). Psychological benefits of exercise include stress reduction and prevention of anxiety and depression.
  • Exercise can improve your social life. WebMD says routine exercise can improve self-esteem, making it easier to connect with others. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Sports Economics found participation in sports activities can induce prosocial behaviors. While participation in sports is a great way for kids to make new friends, the social aspect of exercise and sports participation is also beneficial for adults.
  • Regular exercise can benefit your career. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Labor Research linked regular exercise with an annual 6 to 10% wage increase. Researchers also found that individuals who exercised frequently had even higher wage increases.
  • Exercise can benefit long-term cognitive health. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that regular exercise can positively influence cognitive ability, reduce the rate of cognitive aging, and lower the risk for certain dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Many people feel a significant sense of accomplishment by the end of a vigorous workout. These feelings may be even more significant if individuals recognize the other important benefits of breaking a sweat.