“Stress levels have never been higher,” Karas says, and statistically, he is right. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University showed that stress increased 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men from 1983 to 2009. We’re more worried about finances, constantly bombarded by media and information, and too busy to decompress—and that stress could be making us sick. But just walking, running, or strengthening your body for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a week is enough to significantly decrease your anxiety, and research shows that adding in music makes that exercise even more effective in fighting stress. “If you’re dealing with a difficult decision, probably one of the best things you can do, whether it’s personal or business, is to get out and put your ear buds on,” Karas says.
Your hormones could use some TLC
Exercise is an excellent way to help regulate your hormones, and you’d be surprised at how much that can impact how you think, look, and feel. For example, boosting your testosterone levels, which can be done through exercise, helps increase your metabolism, maintains youthful-looking skin, and keeps your brain functioning properly, according to Karas.
Your digestion is out of whack
A 30-minute run or brisk walk will do more than just increase your appetite for dinner; it will help you digest your dinner, too. Aerobic exercise quickens your breathing and heart rate, which in turn improves the contraction of your intestinal muscles. As a result, your digested food passes more quickly through your intestines and out of your body, decreasing constipation. Moving in whatever method (walking, running, swimming, dancing, and even stretching or yoga) will help with digestion. Enhance the healthy belly benefits your workout by adding foods that boost good gut bacteria to your diet.