Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Is the workout you don't want to do actually the most beneficial?

Michael and I were out riding the River Trail loop the other day and really had to talk ourselves into going.  Which then got us talking more...when we have to force ourselves to workout do we actually benefit MORE?

The answer we came up seemed to make the most sense to us:  19.3 miles is 19.3 miles, so the distance and workout are essentially the same whether we felt like going or not.  But the way we FEEL at the end is well worth deciding to step out the door and choose a workout every time.

When we are debating skipping a workout, what are the reasons?  I'm too tired, I'm too cranky, I just don't feel like it, I'm too stressed, I need to spend more time with the family...all actually GREAT reasons to choose to exercise.

Our brain is affected by stress, which in turn impacts the rest of our body (lots of nerve connections up there).  So,really, improving the way our body feels should help improve the way our brain feels!  I like to think of it as a give-and-take relationship, equally reliable on one another to make each person feel their best.
Exercise gets your blood moving around your body and brings fresh oxygen to the brain - making you feel more alert AND improving your mood.  So what happens when we chose to lace up and get moving?..we lose that sluggish, tired, moody feeling that is taking over our being every afternoon.

Family time is sometimes sacrificed through the week - work, sports and other commitments often come 1st - so making time for your family can sometimes be challenging.  So get everyone involved in your new active lifestyle!  Take the hubby and the kids to the park, talk a walk or a bike ride together on the river trail, or if you have Sunday afternoons free why not pack a picnic lunch and go walk the trails at Mt. Nebo or Petit Jean Mountain?  You get the idea.

This does not have to be a 19 mile bike ride or even an hour long workout - it can be as simple as a 10 minute walk outside (or in a conference room) at lunchtime.  You know that commercial "10 minute walk at lunch, no 2:30 feeling later"...ok so maybe that's not EXACTLY it but I'd much rather take a walk than slam down an energy shot.

Another benefit I found when reading recently...Raising your heart rate can actually reverse damage to your brain that is caused by stressful events (forgetfulness, dulled memories) and promotes the production of norepinephriene, which is a neurohormone associated with improved cognitive function, elevated mood and learning.  (1)

So you aren't just improving your mood, you are improving your brain!

(1) The Huffington Post | Meredith Melnick | 05/21/2013

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