Five Reasons to Fall in Love with Exercise, Once and for All
January has come and gone. Now that it's over, there's a good chance that your health-related resolutions are history as well. We're all familiar with the cycle. We combat the overindulgence that accompanies the holiday season with the best of intentions for the New Year. We'll sweat more and eat cleaner. A gym membership and detox diet will be the launching pad for a new, healthier lifestyle. It's a great plan. Until it isn't.
A Healthy Habit
Dreaming up our personal wellness wonderland isn't all that difficult. Swapping out poor habits for health-conscious ones is the real challenge. Thinking that the new year is only time to make a change is part of the problem. Today is a fine day for making a re-resolution. Beyond that, biting off more than you can chew will send you spiraling out of control. Start small and take baby steps toward the lofty goal of losing weight or becoming more fit. Sticking to new habits and ultimately realizing your resolutions, regardless of when you make them, starts when you accept the magical powers of exercise.
The Exercise Elixir
The word elixir sounds mythical. There's a touch of whimsy. A dash of wizardry. If you were to look up its meaning, you'd find that assumption to be true. It's said to be a "magical liquid that can cure illness or extend life, capable of prolonging life indefinitely."
That definition could be shortened to read – exercise. Because that's how transformative a regular exercise routine can be. It can prevent illness and extend your life. When you think about it like that, there's a whole new level of motivation. One that makes instituting a regular exercise routine way more important than a resolution. Falling in love with exercise can literally save your life.
Falling for Fitness
- Sweat Yourself Smart: "Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning," says Harvard Medical School Psychiatrist John Ratey and author of the book, "Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain."
- Move More, Stress Less: Research conducted at Harvard Medical School points to exercise as a stress reliever. "Exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators."
- Feel Better, Inside and Out: It should come as no surprise that exercise can improve your immune system and strengthen your heart. But, the benefits go beyond the physical. Psychologically speaking, exercise can help boost self-esteem, confidence and body image.
- Sleep Like a Baby: If you're having trouble sleeping, exercise can tucker you out and make shut-eye easier to come by. Avoid physical activity too close to bedtime, though. It could contribute to tossing and turning if you're still amped from the workout.
- Perform Better: Yes, physical activity can give you a boost on the athletic field. But, regular exercise can help you up your game in the bedroom. And, seeing how February is the month for lovers, this exercise thing might not be such a bad idea. The exercise elixir enhances arousal for women and reduces performance-related issues among men.
Love it or hate it, exercise is good for you. When starting out, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Then, in time, up the intensity and duration of your workouts to take advantage of the transformative powers of sweat.