Exercise in your life is a great way to boost your energy level and when you start exercising regularly you will notice a difference within just a few days. Increased energy leads to more physical stamina and this helps make your daily chores more manageable. You will find that you are not as tired and that you feel better and happier for no apparent reason at all.
Being active also benefits your concentration levels and helps you to sleep better at night. If you find you don’t sleep solidly try walking for 20 minutes each night after dinner. You should find that you start sleeping more soundly fairly quickly.
Exercise also helps to reduce tension and relieves the stress in your life. If you feel as though you may be suffering from anxiety or depression starting an exercise routine can really help.
As we mentioned earlier exercise helps by helping you feel better within days. It also has another huge benefit and that is of impacting your health as you age. By making time to stay fit and healthy now you are reducing your chances of developing heart disease, Type II diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer later on in life.
Leading a healthy lifestyle as you enter your senior years helps to minimize potential bone loss that could lead to osteoporosis and arthritic conditions. In addition you will find that you are more mobile and your joints aren’t as stiff and achy as older people who do not exercise.
Here are the top reasons for staying fit and healthy as you age:
1. Helps you maintain a good weight
2. Keeps your heart and lungs strong
3. Helps to reduce stress
4. Helps to prevent and fight heart disease
5. Helps you sleep better at night
When we talk about exercise we don’t mean you have to train for a marathon.
Small amounts of exercise are beneficial and this includes things like:
• Taking a 20-minute walk after dinner
• Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
• Walking to the corner store
• Parking your car further away from the mall entrance
• Getting off the bus one stop early and walking home
Some great exercises for beginners include:
• Swimming including taking aquafit classes
How Your Brain is Affected by Exercise
Have you ever thought about how exercise affects your brain? Most people know that by incorporating exercise you are building muscle and stamina. Who doesn’t notice that certain daily activities like walking upstairs and carrying grocery bags become easier when you exercise regularly?
But what happens to your brain when you exercise?
When you first start to exercise your brain acknowledges this as stressful. Your heart rate increases and your muscles have to work harder. Your brain reacts by trying to fight these changes. It does this by releasing a certain protein called a Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF for short. This protein works to protect your memory neurons and is why you begin to feel more relaxed and happy after exercising.
While the BDNF is working your endorphins get to work too. Endorphins are a chemical that your body releases to help fight stress. They work by blocking the feeling of pain and help to minimize any discomfort you may be feeling. Endorphins can also make you feel happy and many people refer to this as an endorphin high!
Researchers have discovered a startling fact about BDNF and endorphins. That is that they are very similar to behaviors that can become addictive. You can compare this to getting hooked on morphine, heroin or nicotine. There is one major difference though and that is they are both good for you! To reap the benefits of becoming successful and happy researchers found that it is important to pay attention to when you exercise. A recent study connected by Penn State University showed the following results.
“They found that to be more productive and happier on a given workday, it doesn’t matter so much if you work-out regularly if you haven’t worked out on that particular day:
“Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”
Additional research has shown that it is the first 20 minutes of being active each day that provides you with the best health benefits. So this means that you don’t have to go crazy with exercise, instead aim to get in at least 20 minutes of activity each and every day. You will feel happier when you do and your health will benefit from your actions too.
“On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.” (University of Bristol )
How to Set Up and Maintain a Good Exercise Routine It takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit and when you think about it that isn’t long at all. How would you feel if by this time next month you will look forward to exercising each day?
Of course at first it will take a concentrated effort to make time each day to exercise. You will need to stay focused and motivated to achieve this. Use your goal of wanting to be happier and successful in everything you do to keep you on track.
Quite often it is best to exercise first thing in the morning before you do anything else. If necessary get up forty-five minutes earlier. Set your alarm clock to go off early and put your workout clothes ready where you can see them. When your clock goes off and you see your clothes waiting for you it will be easier to get out of bed and get moving.
When you exercise first thing in the morning you will feel more energetic and will find that it is much easier to get things done at work. You may even find that your productivity increases substantially. To form your new exercise habit it can help to use some form of tracker and log. There are plenty of Fitness tracker Apps that you can download. Or you can use a calendar and check off your exercise each day.
When first starting out don’t create large goals. Instead you are much better off to create small goals that you can achieve. Instead of beginning with walking for 20 minutes a day five times a week decrease it to 3 times a week and reduce the minutes to 10. If you haven’t exercised in a very long time you may find that 5 minutes of walking each day is all you can manage. Don’t worry as each week goes by you can slowly add minutes until you reach your goal of 20 minutes or more.
By actually attaining a goal your self-confidence and motivation levels are increased. This helps to spur you on into exercising regularly. Before you know it you will be waking up each morning eager to exercise.