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31 Reasons To Get In Shape & Exercise More

By Marc Perry / March 23, 2018

I compiled a list of what I believe are the 31 most important reasons why you should get in shape, or stay in shape. What “getting in shape” means to me is you have a baseline of (1) strength, (2) muscular endurance, (3) cardiovascular capacity, and (4) flexibility to lead a fuller, healthier life. If you are weak in one of these 4 areas, then you have a gap to fill my friend!

Next time you’re thinking of skipping exercise, or you’re contemplating getting in shape (see 5 Stages of Change Model), you can use this list as a motivational reference.

If you have any friends who are not exercising, definitely shoot them this post!

So here are 31 reasons to get, or stay in great shape:

1. Reduces Cholesterol 1

Regular exercise has been proven to reduce “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase “good” cholesterol (HDL)

2. Sleep Better 2

Exercise can help you sleep better. People who exercise tend to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

3. Improves Self Esteem 3

Regardless of your body appearance, regular fitness helps improve your self-esteem.

4. Reduces Blood Pressure 4

Exercise not only reduces high blood pressure, it helps prevent it.

5. Decreases Back Pain 5

By increasing muscle strength, endurance, and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain. Studies show that exercise is an effective treatment for recurrent low back pain.

6. Reduces Risk of Injury

If you have a strong, fit body, the chances of injury significantly decrease.

7. Prevents Certain Cancers 6

Some studies show that exercising regularly can help decrease colon cancer risk by 40% and may help reduce the risk of breast cancer as well.

8. Increases Metabolic Rate 7

Exercise not only will increase the total number of calories that you burn, but also can increase your resting metabolic rate, so you burn more calories while at rest.

9. Increases Range of Motion 8

An increase in flexibility can decreases stiffness in joints, and can decrease pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

10. Increases Functional Strength 9

From getting out of a chair, to lifting an object off the ground, our bodies are able to perform daily activities better.

11. Increases Insulin Sensitivity 10

Not only does getting in shape help increase insulin sensitivity (ability of muscles to uptake glucose), but helps prevent type 2 diabetes.

12. Improves Sex Drive 11

Exercise increases circulation, which helps prevent erectile dysfunction and impotence. Exercise can increase sex hormones like testosterone.

13. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease 12

Regular exercise strengthens the heart and improves contractile function

14. Exercise is Fun and Enjoyable 13

Yep, it’s really true. There are so many ways to “move” that there is bound to be one you enjoy. Try making exercise more competitive, or social if you need extra motivation. The hard part of course is getting started.

15. Exercise Prolongs Life 14

People who exercise regularly tend to live longer.

16. Improves Balance and Coordination 15

Exercise can improve your stability and also what is called your “kinesthetic awareness”. You have a better feel of where you are spatially, so you don’t knock into things at the grocery store by mistake!

17. Reduces Anxiety and Depression 16

Exercise is a great mood elevator to help you manage stress and reduce anxiety. The antidepressant effect of regular physical exercise is comparable to the potent antidepressants like Sertraline.

18. Gastrointestinal Tract Benefits 17

Exercise is beneficial for persons suffering from cholelithiasis and constipation. Physical activity may reduce the risk of diverticulosis, gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and inflammatory bowel disease.

19. Weight Control 18

While some research shows exercise increases appetite while others shows exercises suppresses appetite, one thing is for sure: regular exercise helps control weight.

20. Improves Fat Utilization 19

Improves your body’s ability to use fat for energy during physical activity. Our bodies use glycogen and fat as stored energy to help sustain us.

21. Strengthens Immune System 20

Just about any doctor will tell you no pill or nutritional supplement has the power of near daily moderate activity in lowering the number of sick days people take.

22. Strengthens Your Bones 21

Lifting weights helps prevent osteoporosis, which is so important because a shocking 1 out of 2 women will be diagnosed with osteoporosis.

23. Improves Focus 22

Exercise helps improve your brain’s ability to concentrate, remember, visualize, plan ahead, and solve problems because a fitter body will supply a more rich amount of oxygen to your brain.

24. Reduces Aches & Pains

Improves your body’s ability to sit still and be comfortable for long periods of time. Keeping your muscles toned and strong and your joints flexible will prevent aches and pains from distracting you and keeping you from concentrating. If you have an office job, exercise is a necessity!

25. Lose the Hidden Fat 23

But just like the fat that leads to belly rolls and love handles, internal fat — called visceral fat — also can be prevented and eradicated with regular exercise.

26. Improves Energy Levels 24

Research suggests regular exercise can increase energy levels, even among people suffering from chronic medical conditions associated with fatigue, like cancer and heart disease. One study in 2006 showed the average effect of regular exercise was greater than the improvement from using stimulant medications, such as those that treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Forget the cup of coffee, or energy drink, and go for a brisk walk, or workout!

27. Prevents Alzheimer’s 25

The latest research indicates exercise can keep the brain sharp into old age and might help prevent Alzheimer’s disease along with other mental disorders that accompany aging.

28. Improves Confidence 26

While appearance certainly isn’t everything, getting in better shape can help you look a lot better, and improve your confidence. From the appearance of your skin, to your overall body shape, just about every physical attribute can improve when you’re in shape.

29. Reach Your Potential

You’re not at your best if you’re flabby and out of shape. Simply put, when you’re in great shape, you’re a better version of YOU, and this physical transformation can also help improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual state.

30. Because you can commit a couple hours out of your 168 hour week to get all these benefits!

31. Because I just listed 30 compelling reasons to exercise and get in shape.

So there you have it, a solid 31 reasons to get in shape and stay motivated to exercise.

Did I not include any benefits of staying in shape that you think are important?

Are there any reasons that are particularly motivational for you?

Please leave a comment below and share your opinion.

Show 26 References

  1. Halverstadt A, Phares DA, Wilund KR, Goldberg AP, Hagberg JM. Endurance exercise training raises high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lowers small low-density lipoprotein and very low-density lipoprotein independent of body fat phenotypes in older men and women. Metab Clin Exp. 2007;56(4):444-50.
  2. Youngstedt SD. Effects of exercise on sleep. Clin Sports Med. 2005;24(2):355-65, xi.
  3. Available at: . Accessed February 12, 2013.
  4. Rankovi? G, Djindji? N, Rankovi?-nedin G, et al. The effects of physical training on cardiovascular parameters, lipid disorders and endothelial function. Vojnosanit Pregl. 2012;69(11):956-60.
  5. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet#211653102. Accessed February 12, 2013.
  6. Bernstein L, Henderson BE, Hanisch R, Sullivan-halley J, Ross RK. Physical exercise and reduced risk of breast cancer in young women. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1994;86(18):1403-8.
  7. Knab AM, Shanely RA, Corbin KD, Jin F, Sha W, Nieman DC. A 45-minute vigorous exercise bout increases metabolic rate for 14 hours. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(9):1643-8.
  8. Moreside JM, Mcgill SM. Hip joint range of motion improvements using three different interventions. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(5):1265-73.
  9. Maiorana A, O’driscoll G, Cheetham C, et al. Combined aerobic and resistance exercise training improves functional capacity and strength in CHF. J Appl Physiol. 2000;88(5):1565-70.
  10. Borghouts LB, Keizer HA. Exercise and insulin sensitivity: a review. Int J Sports Med. 2000;21(1):1-12.
  11. Available at: http://www.ejhs.org/volume7/fitness.html. Accessed February 12, 2013.
  12. Leclerc KM. The role of exercise in reducing coronary heart disease and associated risk factors. J Okla State Med Assoc. 1992;85(6):283-90.
  13. Bartlett JD, Close GL, Maclaren DP, Gregson W, Drust B, Morton JP. High-intensity interval running is perceived to be more enjoyable than moderate-intensity continuous exercise: implications for exercise adherence. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(6):547-53.
  14. Sanchis-gomar F, Olaso-gonzalez G, Corella D, Gomez-cabrera MC, Vina J. Increased average longevity among the “Tour de France” cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 2011;32(8):644-7.
  15. Barnett A, Smith B, Lord SR, Williams M, Baumand A. Community-based group exercise improves balance and reduces falls in at-risk older people: a randomised controlled trial. Age Ageing. 2003;32(4):407-14.
  16. Carek PJ, Laibstain SE, Carek SM. Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Int J Psychiatry Med. 2011;41(1):15-28.
  17. Peters HP, De vries WR, Vanberge-henegouwen GP, Akkermans LM. Potential benefits and hazards of physical activity and exercise on the gastrointestinal tract. Gut. 2001;48(3):435-9.
  18. Donnelly JE, Smith B, Jacobsen DJ, et al. The role of exercise for weight loss and maintenance. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2004;18(6):1009-29.
  19. Melanson EL, Maclean PS, Hill JO. Exercise improves fat metabolism in muscle but does not increase 24-h fat oxidation. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2009;37(2):93-101.
  20. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/exercise-immune-system-t-cells_n_1971311.html. Accessed February 12, 2013.
  21. Honda A, Sogo N, Nagasawa S, Shimizu T, Umemura Y. High-impact exercise strengthens bone in osteopenic ovariectomized rats with the same outcome as Sham rats. J Appl Physiol. 2003;95(3):1032-7.
  22. Smith PJ, Blumenthal JA, Hoffman BM, et al. Aerobic exercise and neurocognitive performance: a meta-analytic review of randomized controlled trials. Psychosom Med. 2010;72(3):239-52.
  23. Irving BA, Davis CK, Brock DW, et al. Effect of exercise training intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(11):1863-72.
  24. Sharma A, Madaan V, Petty FD. Exercise for mental health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006;8(2):106.
  25. Gatz M. Educating the brain to avoid dementia: can mental exercise prevent Alzheimer disease?. PLoS Med. 2005;2(1):e7.
  26. Moorcroft AJ, Dodd ME, Webb AK. Exercise limitations and training for patients with cystic fibrosis. Disabil Rehabil. 1998;20(6-7):247-53.


  • Habibies says:

    Thank's alot for Share very Great Info :)

  • Mary says:

    I can tell you from experience, that a serious fall from the car on ice was avoided when I had the strength to brace myself between the car door and the car seat. I walk away without even a pulled muscle.

    In addition, after a herniated disk many years ago pior to my interest in fitness, I was able to recuperate and have been healthy since once I started a regular workout routine. If I miss a couple of sessions, my back will remind me to get to the gym or be laid up for a few weeks. Thanks Marc. Great suggestions as always.

    • Marc Perry says:

      Thank you everyone for your comments! Greatly appreciated!

  • Hank says:

    Wow what a wake-up call! I was away on vacation and a convention for two weeks and needless to say I did not work out as I should have. Your points are great and timely.

  • Natalia says:

    I haven't been to the gym since just finishing the Nike Women's Marathon in SF last week, using that as an excuse not to work out anymore - but now I'll go - despite the cold! Thanks Marc for reminding me ~ almost fell into laziness...

  • Daksha Fata says:

    Thanks Marc, I really appreciate your article since I am not a winter person. I really needed to know the many benefits of exercising. This will surely get me through the cold New York winter months.
    Daksha Fata

  • Windy says:

    Thanks for posting this. I just wish I knew how to get started. I have to start slow because my joints are so weak and then it's so difficult to stay at it. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Marc Perry says:

      @Wendy - The easiest way to get started is simply to commit to something that you can reasonably achieve. Let's say you start walking for 20 minutes 2, or 3 days per week. Over time, you can increase the pace of your walk to a jog, or find more activities like a workout class, or running group.

      It is VERY easy to get overwhelmed by the prospect of getting in shape, because it's a process that takes time and effort. When I first started this website for example, I was overwhelmed with everything I needed to do; write articles, create and edit videos, get a logo, create a web design, organize the information, create a product, find systems to sell the product, choose an email software provider etc. just to name a few.

      Instead of getting overwhelmed, I realized that accomplishing my goal of creating this website would take time. I ended up writing 1-2 articles per week, and created a list of things I would need to do over the next several months. Over time, I crossed off everything on my list. The point I'm trying to make is don't think about the totality of changing your body, but break it down into small steps. Then over time, you will make positive changes that you can build on. Just committing to walking a few times per week to clear your head and get all the benefits in this article is well worth it. From there, as you get in better shape, you can join a workout class, or other activity.

      Hope this is helpful and thanks for stopping by!

  • Toni says:

    I know (as a female) that regular exercise has helped reduce menstrual pain as well which for most of my adult life was pretty awful. It used to sideline me for almost a week. But not anymore due to all the working out I do. The running has really helped me the most.

    • Marc Perry says:

      @Toni - Thanks for sharing yet another benefit of exercise I did not mention!

  • Toni says:


    Females can benefit from the twelfth reason too. Regular exercise strengthens the pelvic floor muscles which can aid in better blood flow and increased circulation thus resulting in more frequent and stronger orgasms. Just a thought.

  • Sam says:

    I know this is an oooooooooollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllddddddddddddddddddd post, but I just want to say, thank you. And I think it's all I needed to kick my worries, and get jogging.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Sam - Well it's not THAT old as I always try to refresh posts here and there, but I do really appreciate your comment!

  • sam says:

    Good piece!! I am a living experience to all these benefits especially that self confidence aspect and an healthy look have really motivated me to keep up with my keeping fit routine.

    • Kristin Rooke, CPT says:

      Hey Sam,

      Thanks! It's awesome that you've experienced the benefits of working out. Improved self-confidence and feeling good about how you look are some of the most powerful motivators that will help you maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Keep it up!

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor