A lot of people work out and exercise to look good, build muscle, gain strength, increase their energy, socialize with others and maybe find an attractive girl or guy to ask out on a date. We all have our reasons why we workout.
From listening to fitness customers for years now, I know that exercise is work. You have to change into your exercise clothes, get the right footwear on, pick the type of exercise you want to do. Your heart rate increases, your breathing rate increases, you start to sweat, you may start to stink so that means you’ll need to take a shower after… it’s tiring me out just talking about exercise!
I often say when fitness training, “If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.” Exercise is not easy, but there are so many good health benefits from exercise. Exercise can help us lose weight, prevent obesity and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Exercise can also help us preserve our emotional health and well-being. Many people often overlook the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Exercise can help you reduce the feelings of anxiety. If you tend to worry, have self-doubt and are fearful about the future, moderate intensity - a brisk walk - exercise may help you.
Exercise can help you reduce the feelings of stress, which can cause muscle tension, stomachaches and emotional upset. Regular exercise can help reduce feelings of anger and irritability, which cause stress in our lives.
Exercise can help you reduce the symptoms of depression. Negative moods and feelings of hopelessness are very real. Moderate intensity exercise can help. Also, exercising with others can help. Group exercise is becoming more and more popular because of the social “feel good” benefits of being with others.
Exercise energizes you. What? This makes no sense but it’s true. Try it. After a long day working, volunteering, or being busy with errands, choose to do a moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking. Your energy will be boosted and you’ll have a better evening.
Exercise improves your sleep quality. Sleep is when our body recovers from the day’s work and stress.
It’s time to enjoy the emotional benefits that exercise can provide. If you’re not consistently exercising, now is a great time to start. Find a buddy to exercise with, start off gradually and progress your routine over time.
Here’s to exercise helping your emotional well-being.
Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the January 19, 2017 edition of the Seaford Star.