Daily movement and exercise is great for your muscle strength, caloric burn, and bone density. But it is also key to your overall mental wellbeing! Making time in your schedule, even for a quick, efficient workout, is beneficial for the mind, body and soul. And here’s why…
1. Makes You Feel Happier and More Energetic!
Physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals help regulate your mood and may help you feel happier and more peaceful. Mentally, we feel more energized and ready to tackle the world after a good workout because endorphins have boosted our physical energy level. Your daily movement doesn’t have to be intense…just a short walk around the office or after work can make a real difference.
2. You’ll Sleep Better!
Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. “Exercise actually has a chemical effect on the brain. ‘Physical activity creates more adenosine in the brain, and adenosine makes us feel sleepy,’ says Winter. (Fun fact: Adenosine is the chemical that caffeine blocks to make you feel more alert.) ‘The harder we work out, the more driven we are by this chemical to sleep.'” (everydayhealth.com)
3. Combats Disease!
Activity helps boost the “good” cholesterol in your body and decreases the not-so-good triglycerides. This can help reduce the chances of cardiovascular disease. Daily movement can also help prevent stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, cancer, arthritis and falls. For more information on specific conditions visit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-and-chronic-disease/art-20046049
4. Keeps You Busy and Social!
Physical activity can help you connect with others and meet new people. And we all know how much we crave that after this last year and a half…even me, an introvert! Whether it’s a dance class, hiking through a local park or joining a sports team, physical activity is a great way to improve your health in a social atmosphere. My neighbor friends and I even do leisurely laps around the neighborhood in the evenings to get our steps in but also boost our mood with some fun conversation.
5. Sharper Memory!
The same endorphins that make you feel happier and more energetic also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp. Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline, too. And since you’ll feel more energetic you are more likely to finish tasks at hand more efficiently. The work I do right after a good work out or a walk is some of my best because my blood is pumping and my brain is on point.
6. More Confidence!
Daily movement is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. You’ll feel better about your appearance AND you’ll feel a sense of achievement. I recently started a new Adult Coaching Program at Method Athletics. Brian, my husband, has been going for a couple years, but now we have this friendly competition about where new muscles are showing up. I just found some new ones on my forearm!
Listen, you don’t need to devote hours each day to train at the gym, or run mile after mile to reap all the mental health benefits of exercise. Just 30-minutes of daily movement five times a week is great! And even that can be broken down into 10-15 minutes increments if that’s more manageable!
Here are some great ideas for increasing your steps and activity:
- Park farther away from the office entrance or store.
- Take the stairs; walk the escalator instead of standing still.
- Start your shopping trip at the grocery or big-box store by first taking a lap around the perimeter of the store.
- Take a brief walk with the dog before work.
- Walk outside for 15 minutes during your lunch break.
- Set your phone alarm to take regular walk breaks at work.
- Walk to your coworker’s office instead of sending an email.
- Plan physical activities for the family, such as taking nature walks or playing miniature golf.
- Vacuum the house.
- Walk to nearby stores or restaurants instead of driving.
“Aerobic activity is anything that challenges your heart and circulatory system to meet extra oxygen needs and improves the way the heart works.”
-Jason Fleming, MD, board-certified cardiologist
So, LET’S GO! How are you going to move today?