BRIGHTEN YOUR OUTLOOK
Reduce or lessen symptoms of anxiety and depression:
You’ve heard me preach about this before – the way I manage my own anxiety, energy levels and feelings of well-being is by doing heart-pounding cardio, lifting heavy things and cutting out as much crap food as I can.
The studies are in. Physicians are prescribing exercise like they’re prescribing Ativan. Well, the good ones are, anyways. Physical exercise commands your body to respond with a flood of all kinds of feel-good hormones and chemicals which can help to change the way you see the world.
Before you hate me forever: No two ways about it, it is practially impossible to find the energy to exercise when you’re so depressed you can’t get out of bed. Those cases DO exist and medical intervention and pharmaceutical support is often what provides the most support. Every case is individual. Work with a physician.
My personal experience with dramatic, persistant, lifelong anxiety is that exercise is a TOTAL SAVIOUR.
Improve sleep quality:
Remember when you were a little kid and Gramma would make you go outside and play instead of watching TV? It’s because she knew that the combination of fresh air and exercise was going to make sure you were ready for bed and she could enjoy a quiet evening.
Again, it’s all about energy expenditure. Fatiguing your muscles, depleting your reserves, fresh air and sunshine – all of those factors combined mean that your body has earned it’s time for deep, restorative sleep. Lying around on the couch all day – while draining emotionally and physically, does not a good sleep make.
Special note: sometimes too much exercise – especially in the few hours before bedtime can make you too jazzed to calm down.
Make a zen bedtime routine: healthy carbs with supper (not too many) helps to facilitate sleep quality, cut back on screen time (1 hour before lights out) and sleep in a PITCH BLACK ROOM.
For me: my whole life is doable with 7-8 quality sleep hours each night. Be willing to work at it.
PUMP AND FLOW
Fortify your cardiorespiratory system:
Making your heart work hard – and calling on your lungs to supply oxygen to your body is arguably the most important benefit of exercise. Your heart and lungs are among the crucial life sustaining and life enhancing physiological systems that run your body.
The harder your heart works during exercise – the less hard it has to work at rest; the harder it pounds during a workout – the easier job it has moving blood through your body when you sit at work for eight hours or have to fly 10 hours overnight.
Circulation to limbs and digits, better cognitive functioning, healthier vision, oxygen to muscles – even better erections (see Bend, Flex, Bang and Burn) … it’s ALL about BLOOD FLOW.
KEEP THE DOCTOR AWAY
Boost your immune system:
Just too damn complicated to simplify into a paragraph that will convince you of anything. Read the Harvard study.
Some argue time in the gym means increased exposure to germs.
Some say “if you’re destined for cancer, there’s nothing you can do about it” OR “I come from a line of big women, there’s nothing I can do about it.” (see gene expression)
We will always find an excuse for that which doesn’t suit us. But, you can’t argue with physiology and science.
Exercise – simply put – means better overall health and less trips to the doctor.
BEND, FLEX, BANG and BURN
A smorgasbord of rewards for time spent ‘moving with effort’:
Less back pain. (In 5 months, my husband, at age 52, has quit going to the chiropractor and is off daily pain relief to manage chronic muscle and joint soreness.)
Better energy levels.
Fired up metabolism (a muscle building body burns more than a body at rest).
Hotter sex life.
Less visceral body fat (the kind that packs in around your internal organs).
Role model for others.
Extended social circle. (Birds of a feather, flock together.)
There are too many tangible, valid benefits to regular effort in exercise. To argue against exercise or to come up with reasons that you cannot, is to simply admit it just isn’t important to you.
It’s not rocket science.
There is no miracle with it.
It’s energy expenditure and motion and physiology.
Fact and science.
But, none of it works if we don’t actually DO something.
What is it in us that chooses the default of illness (it’s a statistic) and immobility over movement and wellness?
Do we really need our lives to be as easy and as comfortable as possible?
Is it really harder to move a little bit (break a sweat) than it is to carry an extra 60 pounds around our internal organs or have our bodies deteriorate in their softness?
What if movement and incorporating an 80/20 whole food rule was the way we transformed our body, our future and our over-burdened health care systems?
As you can see, I do believe exercise is almost the cure for everything.
** But I still love you, even if you think it’s too hard and don’t want to. **