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5 Underrated Benefits of Exercise, According to Science

Aside from shedding pounds and improving mental health, there are several "silent" positive side effects.

Everyone needs exercise, and aside from the obvious health benefits—such as increasing strength, shedding fat, and promoting good mental health—there are other, lesser-known perks that come with regular physical activity.

Below, we detail just five of these positive side effects so you have even more motivation to start exercising regularly. And after, don't miss 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work!


It could help manage chronic pain

Side view of a frowned young man suffering from pain in loin while sitting on white bedding

Some 20% of U.S. adults have chronic pain, according to most recent CDC data. Whether you experience it in one or multiple areas of the body, could potentially benefit from a regular exercise routine. A combination of cardio, relaxation, stretching, and strength training could help to ease pain over time.

Authors of a 2017 study published in Cochrane Reviews, which explored whether or not exercise helped adults with chronic pain concluded, "There is some evidence of improved physical function and a variable effect on both psychological function and quality of life."

Talk to your doctor before engaging in any new exercises, especially strenuous ones.


It helps prevent osteoporosis

Senior fitness woman injury knee pain while exercising in gym. aged lady suffering from Arthritis . Old female workout .Mature sport training.rehabilitation.elderly osteoarthritis Healthy lifestyle

Exercise can improve bone health by reducing age-related bone loss and maintaining bone mass. Bone naturally becomes weaker with age, so staying on a regular exercise routine—preferably a minimum of 30 minutes each day, for three or four days of the week—can help support good bone health.

It can even help prevent osteoporosis, a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or a combination of the two.

For inspiration, check out 25 Easy Exercises That Boost Your Health Fast.


It could help older adults prevent falls

Senior athlete walking outdoors in the city

According to the CDC, multicomponent physical activity, which includes various types of exercise including ones that focus on strictly on balance or muscle strength, can help improve physical function. This ultimately can decrease the risk of falls or injury from falls.

What's more is that those who are physically active for roughly 150 minutes each week—30 minutes, five days a week—have a 33% lower risk of "all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive."


It may help with diabetes management

Close-up Of Person's Hand Checking Blood Sugar Level With Glucometer

Those who have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of the condition should exercise regularly if they're not already. Why? The American Diabetes Association suggests getting 150 minutes of exercise each week in order to improve blood glucose (sugar) levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, for example.


It could improve your sleep

woman sleeping on bed in bedroom

Last but not least, engaging in regular exercise not only could help you fall asleep quicker, but it could also help to improve the quality of your sleep. According to Charlene Gamaldo, MD, and medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep at Howard County General, moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of "slow wave" sleep we get.

Slow wave sleep is the deep part of the sleep cycle that enables the body and mind to recoup. The best part? You only need about 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise most days of the week to help improve your sleep.

For more, be sure to check out The 5 Absolute Best Foods to Eat For Better Sleep.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of <Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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