By Samantha Lefave for Photo: Pond5
TGIF, time to take a rest day, right? Except, well, that’d be a mistake. Rounding out your week with a hefty dose of sweat can provide a boatload of health benefits.
We know what you’re thinking — you’ve already shown up to do a Monday workout. But here are six reasons you shouldn’t dismiss that Friday sweat sesh. Trust us, you’ll want to load up on those cardio-induced endorphins before the weekend.
7 Reasons to Feel Good About a Friday Workout
1. You’ll have more room to play.
You’re not the only one who thought about skipping the gym — and a lot of people actually followed through with it. That works in your favor, because now you have VIP access to equipment and floor space that’s usually swarmed. Or, get on your group fitness game. The smaller the class, the more room to do those yoga poses and get one-on-one instruction from trainers.
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2. You’ll smile a whole lot more.
It’s easy to sleep in, yes, but getting jacked up on exercise-high endorphins will help put a smile on that face. Even better, researchers found that smiling could be as stimulating for your brain as receiving up to 16,000 British pounds (that’s about $23,000 to us American folk).
3. You’ll be super productive at work.
Having a cup of joe in the morning may give you the boost you need to get your day started, but it’s nothing like what a workout high can offer. A study shows that high-impact exercise, like running, improves learning and performance on memory tests. Who knew that a little sweat and a few smiles was all you needed to nail that work presentation (and maybe score a raise)?
4. Your confidence will skyrocket.
If you work out before your happy hour, you’ll be way more likely to get someone’s number (if you want it, that is). Research shows that people have improved self-esteem after exercising, meaning you might not be as nervous about approaching a total stranger. Want to up your game even more? Take your workout outdoors. One study found that even a five-minute walk outdoors could help improve your mood, so you can strut your stuff feeling all sorts of sociable.
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5. You’ll sleep better.
Let’s be honest: Weekends are for catching up on sleep. And getting in a Friday workout will make your Saturday morning zzz’s that much better. Studies show that those who get in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week report a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality, plus they feel less sleepy throughout the day. What’s better: You can plan your Friday sweat sesh around the weight room, because researchers found that resistance exercise can help reboot your circadian rhythm, a major player in your sleep cycle. And if chronic sleep problems are an issue, another study found that four months of consistent exercise helped insomniacs net 45 minutes of extra sleep per night. So you’ll be winning all around, really.
6. You’ll keep those weekend cravings in check.
You know that moment when you’ve been eating on point all week, but you find yourself caving to craving after craving? A Friday workout can help keep those rumblings in check. Researchers discovered that high-intensity exercise (like Tabata intervals) could help curb food cravings and help you make better choices throughout the weekend.
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7. You can relax.
At the end of the day, fitting in your sweat sessions during the work week gives you the option to take rest days on the weekend. Experts say it’s important to allow those exercise-induced micro-tears in your muscles to heal — so you can come back stronger than ever. Plus, not resting increases your risk of injury. Fit in that final routine on Friday, and if you want to just Netflix and chill all weekend, well, you totally can.
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