You know the benefits of exercising, right?  
A great way to get in shape and/or lose weight.  Improve your health.   Help your heart.  Relieve stress. And so on…

You’re heard those reasons.

But what if there’s more?  

What if there are benefits to exercise that you no one ever tells you?

Here are my top 5 benefits of going to a gym that likely never crossed your mind.

5. Exercise can create connection — even if you never speak to anyone.  If you come to the gym on a regular basis, the front desk will learn your name or, at the very least, recognize your face. In addition, you usually see the same people.  The super-buff dude, who’s also really nice.  The angry guy who never smiles.  The perky gal, with the crazy arm swing, who runs on the treadmill every. damn. day. The old guy who still lifts more weight than you do. You may never meet them, but you feel like you know them. The simple act of exercise creates this connection to your environment and the people within it.

4.  Exercise improves your ability to thinkIf you’re feeling stuck at work or in life, head to the gym.  Hop on a treadmill.  Take a class.  Use a foam roller.  Let your mind wander.  Allow your blood to flow.  You just never know what answers may come.

3.  Exercise in the early morning, and you might get leaner — plus getting your workout in early sets the tone for the day and frees you up later. Researchers have discovered that exposure to morning light, whether it’s pure sunlight or bright indoor lighting, is associated with leaner body weights. Who doesn’t love that?!

2. Exercise teaches you the difference between real and imagined pain.  There’s pain that tells you to adjust or back off, and there’s mental pain that simply wants you to quit.  When pushing your body, you learn when to fight through and when to say “when.”

1.  Exercise is a chance to improve the practice of life.  You exercise when you feel like it — and when you don’t.  When the alarm goes off and you’d rather sleep. After work, when you’d rather hit happy hour.  You push yourself and go easy.  Sometimes it’s play and other times it’s pain.  And you learn to trust your body and the wisdom that it provides with each and every work out.
What’s your favorite way to exercise?
Let us know in the comments below.