October 27, 2011
Daily exercise is essential for good health. It’s easy to make excuses—today I feel sick, or today I’m so busy—always promising to exercise tomorrow. But the truth is this: our bodies need exercise, and we need exercise every day. Our bodies were created such that we benefit from moving and we atrophy if we spend too much time sitting in front of a computer, sitting in a car, and then sitting on the couch. The following are natural benefits of exercising each day:
Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise a day can act like a mild antidepressant. Why is this? Because exercise stimulates the production of dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical that naturally lifts your mood.
Wondering why you are having circulation problems? Because you’re not moving enough. You have to get your blood pumping if you want to keep your cardiovascular system functioning optimally.
Improved Heart and Lung Function
Exercise taxes your heart and lungs, which in turn forces them to rebuild muscle stronger and more efficient. If you don’t exercise to the point where your heart and lungs are taxed, you won’t get stronger, but will get weaker, making it harder to take up exercise later.
Stiff muscles, weak core muscles, and poor range of motion are all alleviated by daily exercise, especially if you choose exercise that entails stretching and core exercises. This will help you with your balance, which is increasingly important as you age.
Improved Ability to Handle Stress
Exercise—even mild exercise—is an excellent way to manage stress. When you exercise, your body produces lower levels of cordisol, which is a chemical that is naturally produced when you are stressed out. Cordisol can wreak havoc on your nervous system if produced in high quantities or often enough. By managing your stress through an exercise program, you protect your body from this harmful chemical.
Daily exercise will help you keep your BMI (body mass index) in check. Not only will you look better and feel better about yourself, but you’ll also be healthier since obesity is linked to a myriad of health complications.
Daily Exercise Solutions
It’s easy to get motivated to go for a bike ride on a perfect 75-degree and sunny day, but what about those days when you feel awful? Or those days when the weather is hideous? The following are good solutions for those “off” days when you just don’t feel motivated:
- Invest in home exercise equipment so you won’t be limited by weather or travel
- Invest in home DVDs of exercise you enjoy and find inspiring
- Meet up with a friend to exercise – you won’t feel so bad or notice the weather as much if you’re talking to a friend
- Travel to the gym and exercise indoors
Daily Exercise Summary
Whether you choose to walk a couple miles each day or to hop on your home gym equipment, the important thing is you decide to move your body each day. The choice to exercise daily will reap significant rewards. Your body will thank you for it later!
This is a guest post by Erinn Stam who is the Managing Editor for accelerated nursing programs. She attends Wake Technical Community College and is learning about nursing schools in AZ. She lives in Durham, NC with her lovely 4-year-old daughter and exuberant husband.