Exercise isn't just for the physical appearance of our body, though there are times I feel a little better in my head when my belly is a bit less jiggly. Exercise improves brain function and is very beneficial to our mental health. If your heart is healthy you get more oxygen to your brain and you get where I'm going. Then there are little things like improved motor coordination, memory, managing the task (to not get hurt) - these use our brain and keep it growing. Vigorous exercise, coached/group workouts or team sports give us time away from our anxiety and worries. It improves our confidence. Finally, it produces great chemicals that can boost our mood and help us sleep (another key to better mental health). While I know my brain sometimes gets worked into a frenzy during a long run, I can distract myself with some music, running with a partner or even adding some exhaustive speed work. My next blog will be on exercise and relationships.
Speaking of running: Its free, well until you get hooked on the medals!! "I'm not fast" "I can't even run around the block" "My knees hurt" "I start thinking too much" Getting fast is for later and that's only if you want to beat your friend, spouse or place in your age group - so don't worry about that. Maybe you can't run around the block but you might be able to jog to the neighbor's driveway, that light pole, the fire hydrant and then walk. Walk, run (jog), repeat - Jeff Galloway has taught many runner's "The Galloway Run Walk Run method" for the well-being of our body however it's also a great plan for beginning runners (couch potatoes or anti-runners). I ran my first marathon (26.2 miles) at age 37, trained hard and tried to run it the entire way (the "20 mile wall" was real for me) physically felt like s%** but what an accomplishment. A few months later I did the Disney Goofy which was 13.1 mile on Saturday and 26.2 on Sunday. I only survived Sunday because I did a run/walk method. My knees were sore for many-many months. Several years later I finally broke 5-hour marathon (the final day of the Disney Dopey) running 2.5 minutes and walking 1 minute intervals - my knees feel so much better thanks to the science behind Jeff's method. Now I find a 5k's, 10k's and half's (13.1) to be plenty of a challenge and a heck of a lot more fun.
Get moving for your for your mind! Make it an Awesome Day!