Most people know that staying fit is good for their bodies. Some people exercise because its good for their heart, or they want to look better, or they hope it will help them to live a longer life. What many people don’t realize is how important regular exercise is to their mental health.
It may sound crazy to say that regular exercise can help you to feel happier if your past experiences with exercise have included wheezing, large amounts of muscle pain and/or nausea, but it is a proven fact. The answer is in hormones released by your pituitary glad called endorphins. Endorphines give you a feeling of being light, carefree, and happy, and they are released every time you exercise. It isn’t magic, but a good workout when you are feeling down can do wonders to lift your mood. The important thing is to find the kind of workout that works for you.
When beginning a workout routine, first think of what you like to do. It will be much easier to stick to your routine if you are doing something you like. If you like to be outside, consider walking or running in the park. If you like to work out in a group, try out some of the fitness classes at your local gym or dance studio.
Once you know what you are going to do for exercise, decide how much time you are going to spend on your workouts at a time and how many times a week you are going to exercise. It is important to pick a routine that you are comfortable with and that you will be able to maintain. As exercising becomes a part of your daily life, you can make your workouts longer and more rigorous, but at the beginning, the most important thing is choosing a goal that is attainable. Once you reach your first goal, you will have more confidence in meeting the next one.
No matter how much or how little you choose to exercise, there will be days that you are too tired, or too hot, or just not in the mood. On these days there are two primary tools you can use to help you. The first is a change of routine. If you have been running on the treadmill day after day, now is a time to try out that Zumba class you’ve always wanted to try, take your workout outside, or even put your favorite music or movie on and exercise in your living room.
The other thing that will make your workout more enjoyable whether or not you are having a down day is to exercise with a friend. You will be much less likely to quit on your exercise routine if you have to cancel on your friend each time you miss your workout. Also, it will make your workout more fun if it is an opportunity to spend more time with someone whose company you enjoy. It helps if your friend is at a similar fitness level to you as it makes it difficult to find a common routine otherwise. It is not impossible to make it work, though, so try it out if you think it would work for you.
If you are able to start an exercise routine and stick to it, you will gain confidence from your success that will spill over into the rest of your life. In addition, the endorphins released with every workout will make you feel happier even as you feel healthier. Exercise is important for the health of both your body and your mind. Don’t give up!