Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Must you exercise. Here's why.....

Remember the wonderful physical benefits of exercise

  • Improved heart and lung function
  • Healthier complexion
  • Better sex life (and more chance of getting one!)
  • Better digestion (and bowel function)
  • Brighter eyes
  • Slimmer and more toned body
  • Deeper, more refreshing sleep
  • More attractive appearance
  • Increased youthfulness
  • More efficient metabolism – you even burn more calories betweenexercise sessions!

I love the thought that, for almost twenty-four hours after an exercise session, you’re burning off more calories than you would have been. Even while sleeping!

Re-read this list between exercise sessions. Keep it fresh in your mind.

Remember the plentiful psychological benefits of regular exercise

  • Better mood: Physical movement is the quickest way to produce serotonin (the brain’s ‘happiness chemical’). The more intense the movement, the higher the production of serotonin. Regular exercise three times a week has been found to be more effective at lifting depression than taking antidepressants (1).
  • Self-confidence: Regular exercise gives you a sense of self-mastery, increased confidence, and higher self-esteem. This can have knock-on benefits to other areas of life.
  • Stress management: Exercise makes you better at dealing with stress. Under pressure, fit people show less physical tension and a lower resting heart rate than less fit individuals.
  • Increased intelligence: Working out improves your brain’s performance as well as your body. You can become smarter, and improve your memory and other mental functions! Chess champions often up their physical exercise program before big tournaments.

Vary your exercise routine

Take a week off from the gym or the aerobics class and go jogging in the park instead to get the additional mood-boosting effects of being in nature. A night of dancing is also great exercise. Do some gardening. Take the dog out for a run. Mix it up. Variation is the spice of exercise motivation.

Visualize yourself exercising

The body does what the mind envisions. You are much more likely to do something – anything – if you first strongly imagine seeing yourself doing it (2). The better able you are to visualize yourself exercising (as if watching yourself from the outside), the more motivated you’ll actually be to do it. You’ll have set yourself a mental blueprint that now wants to be activated.

Happily, I’m now at the point where I don’t actually have to feel super-motivated to exercise; it’s something I just do. And I feel bad if I don’t do it. Imagine not cleaning your teeth for a few days. You’d probably be quite keen to get back to it.

Right. With all this in mind, I’m feeling extremely motivated and am off for my daily run. : ) (Seriously.)

Full post can be found on :

Exercising better than Antidepressants

James A. Blumenthal, Ph.D. and his colleagues surprised many people in 1999 when they demonstrated that regular exercise is more effective than antidepressant medications for patients with major depression. The researchers studied 156 older adults diagnosed with major depression, assigning them to receive the antidepressant Zoloft (setraline), 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, or both. According to Blumenthal, “Our findings suggest that a modest exercise program is an effective, robust treatment for patients with major depression who are positively inclined to participate in it. The benefits of exercise are likely to endure particularly among those who adopt it as a regular, ongoing life activity.” A follow-up study in 2000 showed that patients who maintained their exercise patterns were doing much better than those who were just taking medication.