Let’s be totally real: I love exercising to look and feel great, but apart from developing leaner muscles and toning up, one of my biggest motivations is brain training. Seriously. As a writer, I appreciate that maintaining mental sharpness and improving my memory let me enjoy a better quality of life, especially as I get older (Yes, we can say it. It’s happening to all of us every day and we can do it better).

So, on days you’re not motivated to stick to your workout for aesthetic reasons (in other words, you’re saying to yourself, "My partner loves me exactly the way I am."), here’s why your brain wants you to get moving:

Boosting your heart rate is a brain booster. A study from researchers from California State University at Fullerton, California, recently noted that older adults with higher aerobic fitness and better balance were faster at problem solving and better at remembering items than their less fit peers. Other studies show this is true for children and young adults. If getting your heart rate up for only 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, is all it takes to give me sharper mental focus to rule my day, I’m in!

It does NOT require a ‘no pain, no gain’ mindset. ‘Feel the burn’ definitely is not a mantra in my world, however, mindful movement, even as moderate as a walk, swim or light cycle, has been shown to be a memory booster and eliminator of brain fog for clear thinking.

Physical exercise and brain function have a progressive relationship, so every time you move, your brain improves a bit more. Still stuck on the couch? I have 5 quick tips on How to Increase Your Fitness Motivation —get them delivered straight to your inbox, when you click here.