What if there was an easy way to boost your mood, feel better, and be happy?

No. It’s not eating chocolate cake. It might make you feel good, but it doesn’t last. And it comes with added calories, fat and sugar that have a negative impact on your health. It’s not roller coaster rides or cat videos either.

There’s a simple way to give your brain a boost. And chances are pretty good you’re not doing enough of it. Only 53 percent of adults exercise at least 30 minutes a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1

How much physical activity do you get? If you’re not very active, now is always the best time to start. It’s as easy as going for a walk. There’s the obvious benefits of exercise like burning calories, losing weight, and strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles. But research shows, exercise is good for your brain, too.

Regular exercise can give your brain a boost to:

1. Reduce depression and anxiety
Ever have one of those days when you’re feeling down in the dumps? Or maybe you’re worried or anxious about something. It happens.
So how do you get yourself out of a funk? Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins that help reduce pain and boost your mood. And it starts in as little as five minutes.2

2. Lower stress
Its late afternoon. You’ve got a looming work deadline. There’s some mini-crisis to deal with at home, and you don’t have anything planned for dinner yet. Feeling stressed? Stress is a regular part of life for most people.
But if you don’t manage stress in healthy ways (e.g. exercise, meditation, journaling, hobbies and recreational activities, massage therapy, etc.), it take a toll on your mental and physical health. The good news…research shows regular exercise can help lower stress hormones linked to inflammation, weight gain, and chronic disease.3

3. Improve sleep
How do you feel when you don’t sleep well? Tired, cranky, and fatigued, right? You might wake up feeling like you need a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink just to get you through the day. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that regular exercise (just 30 minutes a day) improves slow-wave or deep sleep, which is a period of restorative sleep for the brain and body.4
Regular exercise can help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer when performed in the morning or during the day just not right before bed.

4. Boost self confidence
How would you feel after losing 10 pounds? Pretty good, right? You can totally do this.
Here’s an example. If you walk 30 minutes a day, five days a week, for a year, you’ll burn about , 000 calories. One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. So you’ll burn enough calories to lose 10 pounds. (That’s assuming you don’t eat more calories as you increase your activity level, the scale doesn’t budge, and/or you don’t gain weight.)
You’ll be healthier, and you’ll feel better. And you’ll be more motivated to keep going. That’s the power of exercise. All you have to do is take the first step, and then another.

5. Improve brain function
Want to be creative, remember more, and keep your mind sharp? It’s critical as you age. About 1 in 10 adults over 65 have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. But you can do something to prevent it. Research shows regular aerobic activity (walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, etc), improves brain function, including memory and learning.5

Want to give your brain a boost, improve your mood, and feel better? Here’s your prescription…move more, sit less.

Sources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Exercise or physical activity. From: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/exercise.htm
  1. Weir, K. (2011). The exercise effect. American Psychological Association. From: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
  1. Childs, E., et al. (2014). Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in Physiology, 5:161. From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4013452/
  1. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2020). Exercising for better sleep. From: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/exercising-for-better-sleep
  1. Godman, H. (2014). Regular exercise chances the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. From: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

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