Five Daily Helpers
Engaging in physical activity not only benefits our physical health but also profoundly impacts our mental and emotional wellbeing. Regular exercise releases endorphins, those wonderful mood-boosting chemicals that make us feel fantastic!
A little activity goes a long way towards a healthier and happier you. How do you like to move your body?
Listen to lesson two of the five ways to wellbeing course to help you be active and move your body.
lesson #2 – move your body
It’s gonna set you free
Discover how you like to move your body and get active every day.
Hi and Welcome to the second episode of 5 Daily Helpers – the course where I teach you simple ways to get the most out of life by taking 5 simple actions. This is lesson #2 – being active.
The activity I’m talking about is moving your feet and moving your body. So, are you really active already? How many steps do you walk each day? Or how much are you sitting at a desk or not doing much at home? Sometimes, of course, it’s hard to do anything else. If that’s what your job needs you to do or if you have to rest because you’re not feeling well.
The Problem with not moving
Sometimes it’s your mood and how you feel that gets in the way of being active. Feeling low brings you down, and saps your energy and motivation to be active. But some recent studies have shown that when you are sedentary it makes you more depressed. It also causes more inflammation in your body, which affects all sorts of physiological processes in your body. If you are low in mood or you’ve got muscular pain, it often helps to be active and to get moving. Physios are saying this all the time.
So what are your thoughts about exercises? Do you exercise every day? Studies say that you should be, but don’t worry; only 10 minutes a day is plenty! And if you feel that most of your energy goes towards your work and into building your career, it’s okay because even walking counts! Twenty minutes is even better. Just 20 minutes of exercise makes such a huge difference in your physical and mental health.
The Benefits of Exercise
There are what seems like infinite benefits to cardiovascular workouts like running, cycling, swimming or dancing. Even walking and gardening are good for you. Studies have shown that regular exercise like this will bring down your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. These studies show that people have more grey matter in their brains…and more grey matter is good. Because it means more neurons and better brain health, you’ll think more clearly and retain more memory.
A lot of good research into the benefits of exercise can be soaked up in the writings of Gretchen Reynolds. She is a journalist and columnist at NY Times where she writes about wellness. She is also the author of the First Twenty Minutes, which gives you solid information about just how good twenty or as little as 6 minutes a day is good for you.
Exercising may seem completely irrelevant to feeling relaxed but it actually releases chemicals that rebalance your body’s hormones. It also quietens your mind so that you aren’t caught up with feeling frustrated and irritable.
The important thing is that you find an activity that YOU enjoy. This could be anything from walking/jogging to going to the gym or even dancing!
One of the benefits of participating in an activity such as walking or light jogging is that it also can fall into connecting with friends. You could go with a friend or a few and enjoy each other’s company. The benefits are huge as it promotes connecting, social interaction and a healthier mind & body.
So what type of exercise will work for you?
One of the factors worth considering is: indoors or outdoors. While many prefer the standard gym environment, there are also many who prefer training outside instead. For me, that’s what I love. I love a good run or cycle outdoors. I love running in the hills or the park to get away from the traffic and the concrete. I also like getting in the water outside. I love a big lido me. Or a river you can swim in. I’ve done that a few times with friends. We’d drive somewhere and park up downriver. We’d then run upriver a couple of miles and then jump in and float or swim down back to the car.
There was this one time near my folk’s house in Herefordshire on the river Wye that I nearly got mugged by a group of swans. I got a bit stuck in the shallow and couldn’t get moving quickly enough, and these adult swans were protecting their young and obviously thought I wasn’t up to any good. Yeah, I swam pretty fast that time.
Being outdoors helps to clear my mind, to think properly and feel freer whereas, in the gym, I always feel more confined, limited in space and around a lot of strangers. That’s just me, though.
As I said, there are many benefits to exercising and being active. Like increasing your muscle strength and fitness, it gives you more energy, makes your bones and joints stronger, improves your respiratory function, makes your heart stronger, improves appetite, improves sleep and digestion, decreases stress and anxiety and improves your mood. Helps the ageing process. It all makes sense.
To quote Russian philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt:
“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.”
Humboldt was around in the 1700’s so it just goes to show that exercising has a huge impact on how good you felt back then. To be honest, we were probably much better at being active back then and for hundreds of years before that.
Move your body and set yourself free
So, the action points from this lesson are:
- Try out a different activity every day and see which one YOU enjoy the most. Whether it’s running, dancing, cycling, swimming, badminton, or horse riding. It doesn’t matter. Just get your feet and body moving.
- Where you can do it with other people, do it together to connect or to help you get a routine going.
That’s it for today; I wish you the best of luck in achieving the goals, see you soon.
The First Twenty Minutes – Surprising Science Reveals How We Can Exercise Better, Train Smarter, Live Longer Paperback 2013
by Gretchen Reynolds
Walk, Jog or Dance: It’s All Good for the Aging Brain