You have heard regular exercise is good for you – improves heart health, prevents cancer, helps you lose weight, and increases muscle mass which is good for keeping you metabolism elevated. Did you know regular exercise is also good for mental health?
As you head into the busy holiday season, finding time to exercise will become challenging. I ask that you make time. You may not be able to exercise as long or as many times as you currently are, but keep the routine. It’s easier to maintain a routine than it is to start one. Or, from a tough love perspective: if you are tired of starting over, you have to stop quitting. I get that time becomes even more precious during the holidays. If you want a workout you can do in 30 minutes, check this out 21 Day Fix, Country Heat (a country line dance inspired workout that you can do at home and requires no equipment) and Core de Force (another total body workout designed to blast fat and carve your waist in 30 days). Each come with a meal plan and are on sale this month.
Given all the pulls on your time, sometimes making yourself a priority is difficult, but remeber what the flight attendant says during the pre-flight safety check: put your oxygen mask on first then help the person beside you. You are of no use to the person beside you if you are passed out. The same holds true for your family. You will no longer be able to help your family if you are no longer around. Therefore, it’s NOT selfish to make you and your health a priority. Doing so increases the likelihood you will be around for your family for a long time.
In case you need more reasons for making time for activity, read on.
Brain Boosting Benefits of Exercise
1. Improved memory – Have you noticed you think more clearly after a workout? Many studies show exercise boosts your memory and reduces risks of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Exercise also helps people recover from a stroke.
2. Better mood, less strss – Exercise releases brain chemicals called endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Endorphins also help reduce the perception of pain and relax the body. Physicians and mental health experts have long recommended exercise as a way to treat depression and anxiety.
Next time you’re feeling down, take a 30-minute walk or jog. Don’t have that much time? Simply walking around the block a few minutes does wonders for clearing your mind, improving your mood and relieving stress which is a much healthier coping mechanism than turning to food or alcohol. Sure, you may immediately feel better when eating or drinking but how are you going to feel and what are you going to say about yourself later? You won’t be calling yourself ‘loser with no self-control’ when you go for a walk.
3. Improved self-esteem – Exercise is one of the best ways to boost your self-esteem. Lifting a certain amount of weight or performing a difficult yoga pose leaves you feeling stronger both physically and better about yourself. This sense of accomplishment will make you more confident and better prepared to face other challenges life throws at you.
4. Better concentration – Researchers have found regular activity may help treat and prevent symptoms of ADHD. Your brain is a muscle and like other muscles, it requires routine exercise to strengthen its focus and concentration.
5. Relaxation – Do you struggle to fall asleep? Regular exercise helps you fall asleep faster and improves sleep quality. Relaxing exercises such as yoga or stretching can help if you suffer from insomnia. Doing a tough workout too close to bedtime hhowever may have the opposite effect, leaving you overstimulated and unable to fall asleep.
In good health,