When my husband and I are having a difference of opinion, he frequently suggests that we take a walk together. Inevitably, by the time we get back home I am calmer, more willing to compromise, and generally in love with the world.
The secret? Endorphins.
When I hear the word “exercise,” I think of a bunch of women in leotards and sweatbands, jumping around to ‘80s music in an effort to lose weight. It’s not exactly the most appealing image, and it sounds like something you’re forced to do rather than something you want to do. But I am passionately in love with exercise. Not because I like sweating or I love leotards, but because I love the way exercise affects my mind and body.
I exercise for three reasons:
Maintaining a healthy weight. Would I exercise if I didn’t have to? I’d like to think that I would, simply because I feel so great afterwards, but let’s face it, most of us need physical activity in order to offset the extra calories we’re taking in. Personally, I am happy to run a couple of extra miles if it means that I can eat those brownies.
Sustaining a positive frame of mind. I have found that my moods are drastically affected by endorphins. To put it simply, if I exercise, I am happy. I have tons of energy, I can accomplish all kinds of tasks quickly, and I am more patient with my children (this is a biggie, and it is literally like night and day). Scientifically speaking, exercise is one of the most effective ways to metabolize stress hormones. If I have exercised before the children are up, I can handle pretty much anything the day throws at me. If I’ve slept in, inevitably I have to drag myself out of bed and spend the rest of the day moping around feeling listless and woe-is-me.
Overall health. As a runner, exercising gives me increased lung capacity, more effective cardiovascular functioning, and better joint and muscle health. Yoga gives me increased flexibility. Due to vigorous exercise earlier in the day, I sleep soundly at night and drink lots of water during the day—both things that help me to feel even better the next day. And perhaps best of all, exercise has been shown to slow the deterioration of mental acuity with increasing age—something which I’m sure we’d all like to avoid!
I am so excited to be posting here at Bloom about creating an exercise habit—I’ll be back soon with four tips to make the goal a reality!
In the mean time, we'd like to know...
Are you a regular exerciser?
If so, what are your secrets to success?
If not, what are your stumbling blocks?