At some point in your life, you probably have experienced the famed “runner’s high”, or just felt that fantastic feeling right after a grueling workout.
This feeling occurs because your body releases endorphins to counter the pain that a tough workout should bring. While this is a cool effect, it is the least of the benefits exercise has on our moods.
There are several psychological benefits to exercise.
First, when we exercise, it tends to improve our self-esteem because it is associated with a stronger, more attractive body.
Second, we know that we “should” be exercising, so being active makes us more congruent with our beliefs.
Exercise also has been shown to induce physical changes that lead to improvements in mood.
There is much I could say about this, but due to the more simple nature of this course I will save it for future posts. Suffice it to say that regular exercise is one of the most surefire, proven ways to improve your mood in the long term.
Therefore, today we will start a simple exercise program. If you already work out regularly, keep doing what you are doing. Wow, that was easy!
But if you don’t already exercise on a regular basis, there are a few things to go over before you begin.
First of all, you should always check with a doctor before making any major change to your physical activity. What I will be recommending today will be mild enough that most people should be able to do without a problem.
There are many resources on the internet and elsewhere about starting an exercise program, and if you want to be more ambitious than this, by all means go ahead and come up with a more intense workout program!
What I will be recommending here is more like a minimum, just a place to get started so you can begin to feel the mood benefits that exercise provides.
So here is what I want you to do:
1. Take a 30 minute walk every day. Have it be at a brisk pace, but do what you are comfortable with.
Very simple, but effective. Get started!
Continue to Day 8: Get Better Sleep.