The Bekins Blog
Combat Stress with 20 Minutes of Exercise
Moving inevitably will cause stress under any circumstances, but one of the most important ways to combat it is exercising 20 minutes a day.
Exercising just 20 minutes a day can benefit your physical and mental health. Here’s how:
- Exercise increases the flow of the blood to the brain, just as it improves circulation to the heart and the rest of the body.
- Increased core temperature during exercise may lead to reduced muscle tension.
- Activity also stimulates the growth of nerve cells in the part of the brain involved in memory. When we’re stressed, cortisol and adrenaline are surging and we forget things. In the brain, cortisol is binding with receptors in the hippocampus, the seat of memory formation and learning. If stress is left unchecked over time key connections between nerve cells in the brain won’t function as well, impairing memory and ability to take in new information and raising the risk for depression and anxiety.
- Exercise produces neurohormones like norepinephrine that are associated with improved cognitive function, elevated mood and learning. It improves thinking dulled by stressful events.
- Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your bran’s feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which can affect mood and anxiety levels.
- Blood flow drains metabolic waste products away.
- Exercise pumps blood containing oxygen, fluids and nutrients to active muscles.
Easy ways to exercise every day and easy on your budget:
- Go for a walk! If you have a dog, take them because they need it just as much as you do! Go to a park or around the block. It’s always good to get fresh air.
- You don’t have a buy a workout videos anymore. You can find workout and instructional videos all over the internet and they are free! Find something you like and keep up with it. Some places to find these at youtube.com or Pinterest. Here is a list from Learnvest of the best free workouts online: http://www.learnvest.com/2013/01/10-free-workout-sites-youll-love/
- Put together a routine. For example: 10 pushups, 20 sit ups, 25 squats, 20 lunges (10 per leg), 80 jumping jacks and 60 second wall sits. Repeat three times or when 20 minutes is up.
- Do you love playing sports? Join a recreational league and play your favorite sport. You might even make new friends!
- If you sit most of the day, take a walk on your break or leave some time for your lunch. Sitting all day is not good for your health, so the more you move throughout the day, the better.
Remember certain exercises aren’t for everyone. Know your limits. Start small and work your way up. It’s better to be doing something than nothing. Get exercising!
References: Community Health Network, Learnvest