“I command you to grow.” –CT Fletcher
Having trouble finding the motivation to get back into the gym and whip yourself into shape? The hardest part is committing to a plan and staying consistent. Over time, you will find that exercise can lead to better self-esteem, new friends, and the pride that comes from setting personal records. It may feel like there’ll always be someone stronger than you, but with a little hard work, maybe you can get your own entry on this list! Here are 44 intense facts about exercising.
44. Two Kingdoms
Exercising can be predominantly broken down into two main categories: anaerobic exercise (high intensity/short duration/less oxygen) and aerobic exercise (low to moderate intensity/longer duration/more oxygen). Cardio workouts would be classified as aerobic exercise, which may be precisely why everyone hates aerobic exercise.
43. Your Heart Will Thank You
Despite the understandable hatred for aerobic exercise, many people still routinely incorporate them into their workouts. Aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce the risk factors for heart disease, and can even improve conditions for those that have already contracted heart disease.
42. Live Long my Friends
Other added benefits of aerobic exercise are that it can increase life expectancy, reduce the risk of developing a disability as a senior, and increase strength retention into the later stages of life. Hopefully, this fact will result in a population of super-powered elderly humans in a few years.
41. Mozart Muscle
Seeing many people in the gym listening to music might give you the false impression that music improves performance in strength exercises. However, this is not the case, as there is no difference in power output between working out with or without music.
40. A Shell of Our Former Selves
In Western societies, the energy expenditure during daily physical activity for most people is only 38% of that of our ancestors that lived during the Palaeolithic period.
39. Nicotine Power
Data from one study suggests that nicotine use may produce beneficial effects for anaerobic exercise. In particularly, peak power output and average power seemed to improve with nicotine use, when compared to the placebo group. The way the nicotine was administered played a role though, so please don’t think smoking will turn you into the hulk.
38. Five Rings
The Olympics are arguably the most well-known sporting competition on the planet. However, many people are unaware that weightlifting is actually a summer Olympic sport, and powerlifting (bench press only) is a summer Paralympic sport.
37. World Records
There are two specific exercises in weightlifting: the snatch, and the clean and jerk. Both require explosive power and significant technical proficiency, which makes the world records all the more impressive. The current heaviest lifts are 220kg (485lbs) and 263kg (580lbs) for the snatch and clean and jerk respectively.
36. No Pain, No Gain
Amongst the most prevalent strength sports, strongman has the highest injury rate. The body parts most commonly injured in these sports are the lower back and shoulders.
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35. Something Safer
The most popular/widespread exercise in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada is walking, with 70% of people saying it is their primary form of exercise.
34. Practice Makes Perfect
Statistically, persons over the age of 45 are significantly less likely to get injured while walking than younger individuals. Now I realize why I shouldn’t get mad at slow walkers.
33. Walking Weight Loss
Switching your morning commute from vehicle transport to walking could help you lose weight. A single 40-minute walk per day at an average pace can burn up to 220 calories. So walking to and from work over the duration of your workweek can result in one to two pounds of weight loss per week.
32. Occupational Hazard?
It is common knowledge that firefighters have one of the more dangerous jobs in society. They also have one of the more physically demanding jobs as well. According to a Harvard Health study, 30 minutes of on-duty activity burns around 533 calories, which is equivalent to cycling at 19mph for the same duration of time.
31. A Heavy Burden
A lack of exercise may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it actually creates a huge burden on society. In 2013 alone, physical inactivity was estimated to cost health-care systems worldwide $53.8 billion. Additionally, deaths relating to physical inactivity contributed to $13.7 billion in productivity losses. This means frequent exercise may literally help save the lives of others.
30. Fitness Finances
An even more mind-boggling financial statistic is how much revenue the global health and fitness club industry generates per year. In 2016, worldwide revenue was estimated at $83.15 billion. It definitely pays to help people get jacked.
29. Strength in Numbers
On a global scale, fitness club membership equated to more than 150 million people. The US club membership comprised more than one-third of global members, with roughly 55 million members. Luckily, they don’t all show up to the gym at the same time.
28. A Legal Boost
For athletes and fitness aficionados, there is a way to get a boost to power without resorting to banned substances. Ecdysteroids–a class of hormones derived from insects–has been shown in preliminary testing to assist in protein synthesis and adding muscle mass. It is also not currently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
27. Twitchy Fibres
The type of exercises you excel at may boil down to the predominant type of muscle fibers in your body. An individual with mostly slow twitch muscle fibers will likely be much better at exercises focusing on endurance, while someone possessing mainly fast twitch muscles fibers will stand out in explosive exercises.
26. The Flash
It is fitting that the fastest human that ever lived has the last name bolt. Usain Bolt’s top speed was clocked at around 27.44mph during the 2009 Berlin World Championships. He must have a lot of fast twitch muscle fibers!
25. The Average
Bolt’s speed may not seem impressive at first glance, so it is instructive to compare it to the average human. While speeds may differ according to age and level of fitness, the average human is around 10 to 15mph. That is quite a bit of dust we are eating.
24. Touch Your Toes
Many people stretch before and after exercising to limit soreness and prevent injuries. Stretching feels good and it improves mobility over time; however, some studies have shown that stretching provides negligible benefits in the realm of injury prevention and soreness reduction. Don’t let that stop you from going to yoga class though!
23. American Yogi
Speaking of Yoga, it is definitely a form of exercise that has been steadily increasing in popularity in the US. From 2012 to 2016, the number of individuals practicing yoga increased by 50%. As of 2016, there are over 36 million yogis in the US.
22. More Than Meets the Eye
While women do make up the overwhelming majority of yoga practitioners in the US, the number of male practitioners is probably much larger than you would think. As of 2016, around 10 million men in the US practice yoga. Hot yoga will change your life fellas, believe me.
21. Positive Development
Since the enactment of Title IX of the Omnibus Education Act in 1972, female participation in organized sport has increased significantly in the US.
20. Incredible Strength
The woman who holds the International Powerlifting Federation record for the heaviest squat is Lough Bonica. She managed to squat 312.5kg (689lbs) in 2017. That is roughly quadruple the average body weight of a woman in the US (168.5lbs).
19. Chest Day
The bench press is a staple exercise in the gym, and one with very impressive professional records. The International Powerlifting Federation record for heaviest bench press is 410kg (904lbs). That is over double the body weight of an adult male gorilla.
18. Ready to Mingle
A majority of single people believe the gym is a suitable place to meet a romantic partner and prefer meeting someone at the gym as opposed to the bar.
17. Stay Longer
If you are looking to combine your fitness life and love life, the increasing the amount of time you allocate to your workouts may help. Individuals who report being hit on at the gym typically workout more regularly and spend more time at the gym.
16. Unparalleled Success
According to one survey, 97% of respondents indicated that hitting on someone in the gym led to something more romantic afterward. In fact, 24% indicated the encounter led to a relationship, while 66% said it led to a hook-up.
15. Battle of Endurance
When it boils down to who can outlast the other, women definitively win the battle against men. Women have greater muscle endurance than men in both static exercises and more dynamic, practical exercises. Look no further than your local Crossfit gym.
14. Peacock Status
Exercising might also help you attract a mate in another way. A study from UCLA suggests muscles play a role similar to tail feathers in male peacocks, as females are predisposed to prefer muscularity in men. However, muscles factor more into flings, as women are more likely to choose a man of an average build as their long-term partner.
13. Because I’m Happy
A University of Vermont study has shown that a short 30-minute workout can provide a boost to your mood for the next 12 hours. If you are feeling down, it is likely a good idea to get some exercise in and get those endorphins released.
12. High-Performance Fatigue
You would usually expect to perform poorly while exercising when mentally fatigued; in fact, it is often hard just to make it to the gym or to go for a run in that state. Fear not though, as research has shown that mental fatigue does not affect maximal anaerobic exercise performance. Knowing you can still reach your limits while mentally fatigued can now be your motivation to get moving!
11. Beetroot Juice Power
Drinking 140ml of beetroot juice a few hours prior to exercising can improve your peak force output during your workout. It tastes terrible but it works great, just like Buckley’s cold medicine.
10. Get Hype
Exposure to both music and videos containing motivation primes prior to exercising can improve your psychological state for the subsequent workout. In essence, you really can get into the zone prior to exercising, so try it out sometime!
9. Upper Meets Lower
Anaerobic exercise, such as sprinting, significantly reduces the muscular endurance of your upper-body. However, aerobic exercise matched for the same level of work does not impact the endurance of your upper-body. Therefore, you should favor moderate cycling rather than sprints as a warm-up exercise prior to your upper-body workouts.
8. Occupational Hazard 2.0
Lower-body fatigue significantly impairs static balance, which could potentially be deadly for certain occupations that require significant balance. So if you have a job that requires a lot of balance on your feet, it might be best to leave your lower-body exercises for the weekend.
7. Counting Sheep
Having trouble sleeping? Exercise can help with that, as one study showed that 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week resulted in a 65% improvement in sleep quality.
6. Inner Immunity
Exercise can affect your body’s immune system, either positively and negatively, depending on the amount and intensity of the exercise. Moderate exercise performed daily, such as 40-minute walk, can provide a long-term boost to your immune system response, helping to reduce illness. On the flip side, frequent intense exercise can have the opposite effect, as an increase in cortisol and adrenaline can impair the immune system.
There is some evidence that suggests exercising can potentially increase your intelligence, as research shows exercise helps maintain focus, improve memory, and even make you more creative. Does this mean Einstein was a lab rat and a gym rat?
4. Coffee Time
Coffee may improve your performance. Caffeine intake prior to a workout can result in an increase in mean power, according to studies. This caffeine boost seems to produce more identifiable effects in the lower-body. Now there’s a legitimate justification for your addiction to coffee.
3. You Got Some Nerve
Over time, the body’s nervous system starts to degenerate, and a decrease/lack of physical activity may exacerbate such degenerative changes. Fortunately, exercising can actually improve recovery from nerve injuries and ameliorate the age-dependent degenerative changes of the nervous system.
2. Switch Things Up
Hitting a plateau can be very demoralizing after months of progress. However, there are ways to break through and continue to progress. Periodization–augmenting your exercise regime at defined intervals of time–can provide the shock that helps you break through your limits.
1. Exercising Creepiness
While at the gym, men stare at other people more often than women do, but women are more likely to secretly take pictures of other people exercising in the gym.