I fell out of the habit of exercising regularly for several months, using everything and anything I could think of as an excuse to get out of it. But recently have got back into it and am remembering why I like to push my body to do hard things. The biggest benefit of exercise has always been what it has done for my mental health. Exercise has been the only consistent, reliable treatment for my mental health. Medications and therapy, and other mental health treatments are necessary for some people, including myself, but exercise always, without fail, puts me in a better mood.
When we exercise, it boosts the production of endorphins (feel-good hormones). Endorphins help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and depression and leave us with a sense of happiness and well-being. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever helping us release tension and pent-up energy so we can feel strong and manage and cope with daily stressors. When you exercise, you are so focused on how your body is feeling and what you are doing that It is a great distraction from negative thought patterns. Even a short walk can help us focus on the present moment, bringing a sense of control and calm.
Regular exercise not only helps with making our hearts, lungs, bones, muscles, and emotions strong but also has been linked to improved cognitive function and enhanced memory. Exercise promotes better blood flow to the brain which can help with concentration and memory. It has even been associated with reduced risk of cognitive decline and age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Exercise can also improve our sleep patterns. A consistent exercise regimen can regulate our sleep-wake cycle, giving us more profound and more restful sleep. Sleep is crucial for maintaining overall health allowing our brains and bodies to rest, repair and rejuvenate.
Lastly, exercise offers a sense of accomplishment and boosts self-confidence. Setting fitness goals and achieving them not only improves our physical health but also enhances our self-esteem. Regular exercise helps us build resilience, overcome challenges, and develop a positive body image.
We all know exercise can help us develop and maintain and develop strong bodies, but as you can see, it has benefits beyond the physical. So, I am not going to tell you what the recommended amount of exercise is for optimal health because some movement is better than none. So even if you put on your sneakers and go for a ten-minute walk or dance to your favorite song, you will not regret it!
I post this at this specific time because I want you to come workout with me! You can also join me in the workouts I do with my friend and fitness coach of several years for her affordable, fun, virtual workouts! They are tough but she always provides modifications and is so encouraging to push you through. Her next round starts next week!