You obviously know that a consistent exercise regimen is important for a healthful life. But do know why? Sure, a regular workout routine is good for burning calories and helpful for weight loss, but this is far from the only reason to hit the gym or go for that run. Here are some of the other ways exercise improves your quality of life:
Humans Crave Structure
Having a regular workout schedule is good for your sense of control. This is especially important if you struggle with mental health disorders, excessive stress, or, say the experts at Georgia Drug Detox, one of the premier rehabs in Savannah GA, addiction issues. Having that one thing you know you will do for yourself every single day can help you stay calm and better deal with a life that might feel wildly out of control the rest of the time.
Speaking of Control
In addition to the reliable and dependable schedule, when you exercise, you have almost all of the control. Outside of what your body is physically capable of doing, you decide how you will exercise. You control your breathing. You control your movements. This level of control can have a relaxing effect. Other areas of your life might feel chaotic but during this time? You are in charge.
Mindfulness and Meditation
It’s easy to turn our noses up at the idea of meditation and mindfulness–especially if we don’t have a lot of experience with the subjects. Here’s the truth: that kind of blank and calm feeling you get when you work out–where you’re not really thinking of anything in particular, you’re just focused on your breathing and movements? That’s mindfulness. That’s meditation. This is when you are able to work on issues that plague you during the day without letting those issues completely overwhelm you.
Mindfulness and Meditation have proven incredibly helpful for decreasing a person’s stress levels. They are also a key component of almost every approach to mental health treatment. From Scientific American:
“MRI scans show that after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice, the brain’s “fight or flight” center, the amygdala, appears to shrink. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress…As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker.”
Don’t Worry Be Happy
Working out literally makes you a happier person. When you exercise your brain releases a type of hormone called endorphins which are responsible for elevating your mood and sense of well-being. Endorphins are behind that “runner’s high” you feel after a good workout. You don’t even have to work out super hard. Even low impact exercise helps improve our moods. From New York Magazine:
“People reported feeling happier when they’d done any sort of physical activity beyond sitting or lying down in the past 15 minutes. The most common act wasn’t cycling or running, Reynolds reports, but gentle walking. Literally moving in any way led to feelings of greater happiness.”
Progress You Can See
In many areas of our lives, seeing the progress we’re making toward our goals is difficult. With exercise, however, you start feeling and sometimes even seeing the results of your efforts right away. You will literally feel your body getting stronger and more flexible. You’ll see your body get trimmer. Take progress photos so you can look at them when you feel like you’re not making enough progress. Being able to literally see and feel the changes you’re making give you a sense of accomplishment and motivation that you can carry over into other areas of your life.
You see? Exercise isn’t just important for weight loss. It’s important for your emotional and mental health as well!