The (un)intentional benefits of exercise

benefitsofexercise

When people think about  exercising, they usually envision a leaner, more toned body or maybe even dropping a few pounds. However, there are some other great benefits to exercising! Here are just 7 of them (source):

“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.”Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”

13087537_10154118668812179_8752922046992669995_nSeriously… A light jog or walk will completely change your day! If I am stressed— I go for a jog. If I am sad—- I go for a jog. If I am just needing to think about some things— I go for a jog.  Most of my creative ideas, inspiration, and positive vibes come from going on a walk or jog!  Today, we went for a light jog just before it started to rain. It felt so good!

1. Exercise reverses the effects of stress by releasing “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Studies have also shown that when you use exercise as a way to manage your stress, you actually reverse the signs of aging! YAY!

2. It lifts depression. “Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants.” It’s no secret that I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past, and now that I’ve made fitness a part of my life, it’s so much more manageable!

3. It improves learning. “German researchers  found that high school students scored better on high-attention tasks after doing 10 minutes of a complicated fitness routine compared to 10 minutes of regular activity. (Those who hadn’t exercised at all scored the worst.)”

4. It improves body image and self esteem. And it doesn’t have to be because you’ve dropped a lot of weight. “Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.”

5. It gives you a feeling of euphoria. When you push yourself more than yesterday, when you finish an especially hard workout, or even just resist of the urge to give up when you’re feeling all sweaty and tired…that feeling of accomplishment is like nothing else! It leaves you feeling great all day long!

6.It keeps the brain fit. “Even mild activity like a leisurely walk can help keep your brain fit and active, fending off memory loss and keeping skills like vocabulary retrieval strong.”

7. It may keep Alzheimer’s at bay. “The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.

So keep on making fitness a part of your day! It really is good for the mind, body, and spirit!

 

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