mountain biker giving thumbs up
1 / 12

Better Mood

Cranky? Get moving. Exercise makes you feel happier. When you work out, your body makes endorphins -- "feel-good" chemicals in the brain. You can actually start to feel better within a few minutes of moving. But the effects of regular exercise can last for a long time.

Swipe to advance
woman lacing up running shoes
2 / 12

More Energy

You might not expect it, but using energy to exercise gives you more get-up-and-go. Sometimes when you're tired, the last thing you want to do is move. But when you exercise regularly, that fatigue goes away and you find yourself with a lot more pep.

Swipe to advance
woman hitting snooze button
3 / 12

Good Night's Sleep

Get regular exercise to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. The harder you exercise, the more likely you are to have a good night's sleep. It doesn't matter when you exercise, as long as you don’t have trouble sleeping. If you do have problems, though, work out earlier in the day.

Swipe to advance
hiker standing on mountaintop
4 / 12

More Confidence

You just walked a mile or ran your first 5K. Success like that can boost your self-esteem and make you ready to conquer anything. Exercise makes you feel good about yourself.

Swipe to advance
sweating woman with calm expression
5 / 12

Less Stress

Exercise calms your body and your brain. After your body works hard, the levels of stress hormones -- like adrenaline and cortisol -- drop. Stress and anxiety fade away, especially after aerobic exercise.

Swipe to advance
hands typing on keyboard
6 / 12

More Productive

Want to be more efficient at work? Take a break and get some exercise. In one study, people who got moving in the middle of the day were much more productive when they went back to work. They also were happier and got along better with their co-workers.

Swipe to advance
smiling woman on weight scale
7 / 12

Weight Control

Exercise and diet work together to keep your weight healthy. Whether you want to lose some inches around the waist or just avoid putting on extra pounds, exercise is the key. Try to work out 30 minutes most days of the week.

Swipe to advance
grandmother holding babys hand
8 / 12

Long Life

Regular exercise can add years to your life. And that counts even if you're not a hard-core fitness buff. Just get moving. Even a little exercise can help you live longer than not exercising at all. The American Heart Association says that people who maintain a healthy weight and are physically active live an average of 7 years longer than those who don’t.

Swipe to advance
mature couple dancing
9 / 12

Strong Bones and Muscles

Your bones and muscles get stronger when you work out. It's especially important to do weight-bearing exercise, such as weight-lifting, tennis, walking, and dancing. This can help build bones as you get older. And it can help ward off osteoporosis and protect your balance and coordination.

Swipe to advance
doctor reading womans blood pressure
10 / 12

Healthy Heart

It's no secret that exercise is great for your heart. Regular workouts lower your risk of heart disease, improve your blood cholesterol levels, and help control and even prevent high blood pressure.

Swipe to advance
women walking for breast cancer
11 / 12

Lower Risk of Cancer

Regular exercise can cut your risk of some cancers, including colon, breast, and lung. And people who have cancer have better quality of life when they exercise.

Swipe to advance
senior woman wearing swim goggles
12 / 12

Less Arthritis Pain

If you have arthritis, regular exercise can help ease your pain. And it can make your daily activities easier. Try non-impact exercises like swimming. They can be easier on sore joints.

Swipe to advance

Up Next

Next Slideshow Title

Sources | Medically Reviewed on 10/28/2021 Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on October 28, 2021


  1. Doug Berry / E+
  2. Gary John Norman / The Image Bank
  3. Image Source
  4. Thorsten Henn / Cultura
  5. Glow Images / Getty
  6. Chris Pecoraro / E+
  7. Terry Vine / Blend
  8. Elyse Lewin / The Image Bank
  9. PhotoInc / E+
  10. Adam Gault / Science Photo Library
  11. Steve Debenport / E+
  12. Dave and Les Jacobs / Blend Images




American College of Rheumatology: "Exercise and Arthritis."


American College of Sports Medicine: "How Does Exercising at Work Influence Work Productivity?"


American Diabetes Association: "Top 10 Benefits of Being Active."


American Heart Association: "Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life."


American Psychological Association: "Exercise fuels the brain's stress buffers," "The Exercise Effect."


Anxiety and Depression Association of America: "Exercise for Stress and Anxiety."


CDC: "Physical Activity and Health."


Feltz, D. Exercise & Sports Sciences Reviews, January 1988.


Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School: "Exercising to relax."


Hassmen, P. Preventive Medicine, January 2000.


Moore, S. PLOS Medicine, November 2012.


National Sleep Foundation: "2013 Sleep in America Poll, Exercise and Sleep," "National Sleep Foundation Poll Finds Exercise Key to Good Sleep."


NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center: "Exercise For Your Bone Health."


Puetz, T. Psychological Bulletin, November 2006. "Overweight and Obesity: What Can You Do?"


TeensHealth: "Why Exercise Is Wise."


UptoDate: "Patient information: Arthritis and exercise (Beyond the Basics)."


Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on October 28, 2021

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.