Physical activity improves body and mind

First Posted: 3/29/2009

Surry Health and Nutrition Center

What better time than springtime to kick your fitness up a notch? Longer days and warmer weather provide the perfect motivation, and you dont have to start training for a marathon, either; as long as youre getting more activity than you used to, youre on the right track.
Regular physical activity improves your mood, enhances the quality of your life, helps you burn off stress and, most important, it strengthens your body while it burns calories. Physical activity helps your body work the way its supposed to. Even simple walking is a good, weight-bearing exercise that helps keep muscles including your heart strong.
The next time you finish your workout, think about how good you feel. Many people have trouble getting started, but once they finish, they feel terrific, partly due to endorphins, those feel-good brain chemicals.
Evidence suggests that physical activity improves mental ability in people with heart disease, and that music enhances brainpower. And the combination of music and exercise was found to be more stimulating to the brain than exercise alone. So make sure you have your tunes before you start your workout!
How many times have you heard someone say, I hate exercise! Most likely, what they hate is not the exercise itself, but the chore of having to do it. Lets face it, no one likes chores.
The key is to think of it differently. Instead of viewing exercise as a chore, replace the word exercise with physical activity. Now consider all the things that qualify as physical activity from walking and gardening to swimming, bike riding, tennis, and throwing a football. This mindset will make it much easier to find activities that you enjoy, and exercise wont feel like a chore if you are enjoying yourself.
One of the best strategies for making activity a habit is to commit to a program or to a friend. Knowing that your walking partner is on the corner waiting for you at 7 a.m. is a great motivator to get out of bed. Likewise, if you sign up for a class or buy a gym membership, you are making both a personal and financial commitment. When you know someone is counting on you, its easier to stay motivated.
The goal is to get moving this springby eating right and exercising more often, your energy level will rise and youll begin to feel a lot better. Try it!!!!

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