Hello friends. This week (and over the next few weeks) I have decided to write about something that I have personally been wanting to know more about. Even though I do my best to eat healthy and educate myself about how to do so, the other half of that, exercising, has always eluded me a bit. I have never known much about it, how to do it, or what the benefits of each type of exercise are. I have also not really been one of those people who just naturally LOVES working out, believe it or not! Because of this, sometimes it’s tough for me to get motivated to get my body moving outside of my normal routine. I have gone through phases where I am in great shape, and then…not so much. I recently decided that it was time to get into gear and start my own personal challenge, so my plan is to learn more about the benefits of exercise and what results I can expect!
When I think of exercising, the one constant that people have always told me about, is that it releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in our brain that stimulate our opiate receptors and make us feel happy. These receptors also help to block out pain and cause an effect that is comparable to morphine. This has been one of the few things about working out that makes absolute sense to me, because after any workout, I experience a feeling of absolute euphoria; my stress and worries seem to melt away. Anytime I am having a lot of anxiety about life and being an adult, I can work out and it calms me down tremendously and helps me forget about how hard things can be sometimes.
Physical activity can also help with the symptoms of depression by improving your mood, and can also improve your sleep patterns with the possibility of combating insomnia. If you happen to be be 45 or younger, exercising can even help your brain by increasing the chemicals that reinforce growth, and hinder degeneration in a part of the brain that’s used for memory and learning. One thing is for certain, the more you work out, the better you will feel about YOURSELF! A fun quote to remember is “Losing weight means you’ll look good in clothes. Exercising means you’ll look good naked!” Even if you may not necessarily start off loving it, eventually you won’t be able to deny that sweet after glow that you will begin to look forward to.
There are many different ways that you can get your daily dose of exercise and it doesn’t have to be high impact or strenuous on your body. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the average person should aim to achieve a workout of at least one hour per day. The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to do this all at once. You could do a half hour here and a half hour there, splitting up the time in morning and evening increments. Easy enough, right?
You can also choose to do a wide spectrum of different activities, as long as you are moving and keeping your heart rate up! Some of the things I like to do to change it up might be taking my nephew for a long walk in his stroller, then chasing him around the backyard. I don’t have a dog of my own, but I enjoy taking my parents’ two pups to the Shawnee Mission dog park. It’s a great way to bond with them, and gives us all some great physical activity…also I love being outside as much as possible!
A few other suggestions might include an early morning jog around your neighborhood, taking in all the sights you don’t normally savor. Rock climbing outside or at a local facility is another idea. Gardening or mowing the lawn are also favorites, as I find them soothing, and they give me time to zone out. I also (strangely enough) love cleaning, and find that it’s a great way to get my body moving. I particularly find vacuuming and sweeping relaxing. The repetition calms me down. Bike riding is a favorite of a lot of my friends, and is an activity you can do almost anywhere! Many people also like to walk the perimeter of the mall, as people watching is always a fun past time.
Group exercise is definitely at the top of my list as far as a more traditional format is concerned. I like doing these activities and being motivated by others and their support. Some of my favorite classes include Zumba, Muscle Works, Pound and anything Yoga related. We offer all of these classes here at The Athletic Club! It’s helpful for me to see that I am not the only one who might be new to trying a class or working to step out of my box and challenge my norm. Whatever you choose, just enjoy it!
Exercising is also (obviously) very good for your health medically, and contributes greatly to a long and prosperous life. We will focus more on that next week! As always, thank you for joining me. Don’t forget to stay positive and LOVE YOUR LIFE!
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Written By: Heather