Reasons to Get Moving!

I slept really well this weekend and even had more energy today and realized it was because I got to workout this weekend! Many people are familiar with the benefits of exercise on their physical health, but research shows just as many benefits to a person’s mental health as well. These benefits are both immediate (after the first session of physical activity) as well as long term. Exercise is a natural way to feel happier, less stressed, and improve your relationships. Not only is exercise good for your health, but it’s good for your kids too. So take a brief moment to read on, then grab a water, and get your body moving!

Depression: When a person exercises, their body releases endorphins, which are the chemicals in the body that lead to positive feelings. These positive feelings are said to be similar to those felt by morphine, the body’s natural pain killer, and are often referred to as the “runners high.”

Stress: When we are stressed, our body is in a “fight or flight” state and releases cortisol (sometimes called our stress-response hormone). If the body remains in this state over a long period of time, significant physical and psychological health problems arise. Exercise allows the body to return to a relaxed state and lowers those cortisol levels, therefore reducing stress.

Anxiety: Exercise has been shown to decrease anxiety in the same manner as it reduces stress. Regular aerobic exercise, such as biking, running, or swimming, has been found to be the most beneficial for reducing anxiety.

Sleep: Exercise increases the amount of time a person sleeps, and also leads to a more restful, higher quality, of sleep.

Relationships: Since people who exercise enjoy greater psychological health and are less stressed and irritable, their relationships benefit tremendously. This includes relationships with their significant other, children, and even co-workers!

Brain functioning:  Exercise triggers the release of serotonin in the brain, which improves a person’s mental clarity. And since they are more rested and not stuck in a “fight or flight” state, they are more alert and show a greater ability to focus on tasks.

Self-Esteem: Exercise just makes a person feel better about themselves. Their body will look and feel better and a person’s self-perception improves.

Finding time to exercise is one of the most difficult things for me and most people to do, especially as we gain more responsibilities in life. But as you can see, it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and for our families. Remember what I always say, you are a role model for your children! You want them to take care of themselves as an adult? Then you have to model good self care 🙂 Happy Exercising!

Author: Kim Peterson, MA, LPC-S, RPT

Kim is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, and Registered Play Therapist in Dallas, Texas.

5 thoughts on “Reasons to Get Moving!”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.