You know it’s good for you, but what if somebody said that besides keeping you healthy, exercise also boosts self-esteem, puts you to sleep, and kills both boredom and anxiety in one fell swoop? They’d be right, and you’d have a new weapon in your arsenal to keep you on the path to a healthy and fulfilling life.
If you’re struggling with difficult life events, exercise can be just what you need to get back on track. Exercising has surprising physiological benefits that will help you battle mental health issues and start developing other healthy habits. Today, H.E.A.T. Fitness offers a closer look at the benefits just in case you’re not yet sold.
Rewires Your Brain
Drugs and alcohol produce a rush of endorphins, a “feel-good” chemical, in your brain. You might be surprised to find out that exercise has this same effect, and there are other neurotransmitters at play like serotonin and norepinephrine. This all amounts to what’s commonly called a “runner’s high,” though it results from other physical activities as well. While more intense workouts will get your endorphins flowing, even a brief period of exercise per week can raise your endorphin levels.
Difficult times come with a lot of stress. A good workout will help you manage that stress. What’s more, it also provides a boost to your self-confidence. “The repetitive motions involved in exercise promote a focus on your body, rather than your mind,” says well-being website Healthline, adding that it produces similar effects as meditation, including increased optimism. Moreover, you’ll have less to worry about when you know your body is in good condition.
If you decide to work out at home, remember this: A cluttered home can cause increases in stress and anxiety, which is why it’s important to keep things tidy. Not only will it help you reduce these feelings, but a clutter-free environment provides you with more space to exercise, which, in turn, can help lower those stress levels even more.
Puts You to Sleep
Long nights tossing and turning are the enemy of former addicts. Luckily, a good workout is a sure-fire way to get a good night’s rest. First off, it tires you out, then there’s the reduction in anxiety mentioned earlier. According to the Sleep Foundation, studies show that daytime physical activity induces longer periods of slow-wave sleep, which is the most restorative stage. In other words, you’ll be getting a higher quality of shut-eye and waking up refreshed.
Boosts Your Confidence
Pride. It’s something you’ve been lacking as you struggled with your demons, but it’ll make a swift come-back once you get your body in motion. The reason is quite simple: You’ll literally see the improvements in your physique as you burn calories and build muscle tone. There are also inspiring gains in endurance and strength as your workouts get increasingly more challenging. As Livestrong says, “Looking good, feeling strong and having a positive attitude, the attributes of self-esteem, are all benefits of a regular exercise regime.”
Keeps Boredom at Bay
Boredom can often spur on depression, especially during those moments when you’re sitting around, wondering how to fill your time. Now you have the answer. It’s a rugby match, a jog in the park, a swim at the pool, or a game of tennis. The sheer number of ways to stay in shape ensures that there’s always something new to try. A lot of these activities feel more like fun instead of exercise. After all, what’s more fun than a day in the park playing rugby with your friends?
Encourages Healthy Habits
Once you start exercising, you will find that it’s easier to develop other healthy habits. Exercising can boost your energy levels and prevent you from feeling sluggish throughout the day. It increases your cardiovascular health and makes it easier to focus on activities. This will give you enough energy to add other things to your day.
Makes Activity Part of Your Day
If you work in an office, it can sometimes be challenging to get enough physical activity into your workday. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you get more steps in. Try parking further away from the building and taking the stairs when possible.
Another idea is to use your lunch break to get more steps. If you look at a walk score map of the area near your office, you’ll see the best local spots for walking. A fifteen minute walk on your break or after you’re done at the office can make a big difference over time.
You won’t see any of these benefits without one key ingredient: commitment. It’s vital to set up a daily routine that includes an hour or two for fitness. Start by writing down a schedule for tomorrow, choose an activity that sounds like fun, and pencil it in for the morning, evening, or during your break. Now you’re really on the road to recovery.
Written by: Jason Lewis
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