Everyone knows that exercise is good for the body. It gives you strength, conditioning, and improves overall cardiovascular health. There are less obvious benefits as well including improved memory, a reversal of stress damage, and a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Here are five unusual health benefits of exercise.

Exercise May Improve Memory and Learning

If you are constantly forgetting things, try exercising. It may help improve memory. Even regular activities like short walks and gardening can prevent memory loss and improve vocabulary retrieval. In a 2011 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Canadian researchers evaluated the cognitive function of elderly people, and reported that those that were most active scored better.

Exercise also makes it easier to learn by challenging the brain to concentrate and pay attention. German researchers noticed that after a complicated fitness routine, students scored better on high-attention tasks when compared to students that took part in regular activities.

Exercise Helps Improve Mood

If depression is a problem for you, try exercising. Studies have shown that regular exercise can improve mood and lessen the severity of depression. Calm, relaxing activities like yoga help to improve mood, as well.

The body also feels alive after exercising. Stretching muscles and adding resistance gets the heart pumping, increases breathing, and results in soreness and pain. These sensations are good for the body and mind.

Exercise Reverses the Effects of Stress

If you have a very stressful life, it’s probably a good idea to have your vitals checked by a nurse or doctor before exercising. Stress damages the body, but exercise can help to relieve stress. Now there is growing evidence that exercise may actually reverse the damage caused by stress.

A study done at the University of California – San Francisco found that women that exercised to relieve stress had healthier cells with fewer signs of aging than women that didn’t exercise during stressful times. Trained nurses, especially those that graduated from a RN to MSN online program, can help design a stress management program that safely incorporates exercise.

Exercise Improves Appearance and Increases Self-Confidence

The healthiest way to improve the way you look is with exercise. You can build muscles and lose weight to optimize your appearance. Improved stamina and physical strength gives you the confidence to take on any challenge. It also feels good to outperform your competitors in a sport.

Exercise Lowers the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease

One more unusual benefit of exercise is its effect on the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that exercise protects the part of the brain affected by this disease. In fact, a study conducted by Dutch researchers showed that inactive men genetically pre-disposed to developing Alzheimer’s were four times more likely to develop the disease than active men with the same pre-disposition.

Exercise is good for you. Not only does it improve the physical body, it also improves brain function and protects the body from diseases. Exercise also makes the body feel alive, which has an effect on one’s outlook on life.