Let’s face it, if you have anything in common with most Americans (80% according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention), it’s probably that you know how difficult it is to get off your butt and exercise the amount our bodies expect from us. And before you get started on why that is, don’t bother, because I can hear the list of excuses piling up already: Gym Memberships are too expensive. I don’t know what to do when I’m in the gym; I get easily distracted; I’m too tired from working my brain all day; I’m comfortable with my body; I’m too uncomfortable with my body; it goes on and on, and it’s getting tiring.

Nobody is asking for you to sculpt yourself to look like Dwyane Wade. Nobody’s asking you to run a marathon or sign up for a powerlifting competition. Nobody’s even asking you to work out every day! In fact, the CDC’s study, mentioned above, only asked for two and a half hours of Aerobic Exercise or one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, and eighty percent of American’s couldn’t even do that. It’s embarrassing, and our country’s health is in jeopardy because of it.

But if we’re going to be honest here, there really isn’t much I can do to help that. I can’t pop out of your phone screen every morning to pull you out of bed an hour earlier. But what I can do is provide a list of medically supported reasons why you should get that little bit of exercise, and hope it leaves a mark on you.

Physical Inactivity is linked to 5.3 Million deaths world-wide

First on this list is a scary one, but again, we’re aiming to motivate by whatever means necessary! This is a study done by a team of Harvard Doctors led by Dr. I-Min Lee for The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal. Its findings show that people’s failure to get their recommended amount of exercise has led to 6% of cases of Coronary Heart Disease, 7% of cases of Type 2 Diabetes, and 10% of Breast and Colon Cancers.

Exercise, particularly aerobic, is linked to better sleep habits

This one’s on the brighter side of things. According to a study led by Drs. Kathryn Reed and Phillis Zee, and a team of scientists at Northeastern University, exercise is a critical factor of not only how much sleep you get, but how much good it does for you. I’m not going into detail about the benefits of sleep; it’s really something you should know if you don’t get enough of it.

It can even improve your memory! Yes, you heard that right. According to a study done by researchers at the University of British Columbia, regular exercise appears to boost the size of the Hippocampus, which is the area of the brain dedicated to verbal memory and learning. So dispel all your stereotypes about the dumb jock, because if you want to keep your brain in tip-top shape, you better hit the gym.

By Andres Portillo