For those of you who know me you have a pretty good idea about how much I love exercise and why it is so important on the brain.
Exercise has a phenomenal number of benefits to your emotional, mental and physical health. Although most people write about and learn about the incredible physical benefits to exercise, it is undeniable that there are some strong benefits to both your emotional and mental health through exercise.
Physically, exercise helps to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a number of different cancers. It increases your balance and reduces your risk of falls. It increases your lean muscle mass and reduces your risk of metabolic syndrome. You can get up and down easier, stand straighter and have better self-confidence. All in all, exercise is something your doctor recommends for your health and your counselor will recommend for your mental health.
Just like your body and muscles, your mind requires your care and attention. Your mental and emotional health don’t just happen by accident. Your mind requires as much attention as your muscles, bones and tendons. And, exercise is one thing that you can do that impacts both.
Regular exercise affects the body in three specific ways. With exercise the brain releases neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids that improve both your mood and the way that you feel throughout the day. Exercise will also increase your body temperature which has an effect on your mind and will calm your nerves. It will also reduce chemicals that are secreted by the immune system that can actually worsen depression.
Isn’t that great? You get more positive effects out of moving your body than of any drug!
We mentioned that exercise helps improve your self-confidence but it also takes your mind off of what worries and upsets you. It’s a distraction that takes you out of a vicious cycle of negative thoughts. Exercise is a healthy way of doing something positive for yourself. It is better than trying to solve your problems with depression and sadness through using drugs or alcohol to change your mood. When you exercise you are also exposing yourself to more social interactions with other people. These interactions help to lighten your mood and improve your emotional health.
It’s important to start out small and work up from there. Starting out quickly and hard will be a significant reason for stopping any exercise program before you’ve gotten through one week. Evaluate how much exercise you’ve gotten in the past and aim for a level that’s just a little higher.
I would also strongly advise you to visit your doctor first for a check-up and some advices on how much excursive you can start with , especially if you have done any for … years!
For instance, if you’ve been a couch potato – sitting at work all day, making dinner and sitting while watching television – start by getting an exercise ball. Sit on the ball while watching television each night. After a week add bouncing on the ball during commercials. On the third week add a 10 minute walk after dinner and keep up the bouncing on the ball. Add something small every week and before you know it you’ll be exercising for 30 to 60 minutes each day, feeling better about yourself, losing a few pounds and noticing that you are more toned and healthier.
Your body will look better, your mind will be sharper and your love worries will be gone!