Did you know that as little as 10 minutes of activity can change your brain? According to John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.”
Exercise is about more than having killer abs or the world’s tiniest waistline. Physical activity is essential for your health, in both body and mind.
Here are some of the major benefits of exercising:
1. Exercise helps control your weight. As a writer, my profession by nature is quite sedentary. If I spend too much time at the computer, I may end up gaining unwanted pounds if I don’t engage in some physical activity. I make a point of setting aside time (literally penciling it in on my calendar) for my exercise routine.
2. Exercise lifts your mood. Getting away from the computer now and then has a substantial positive effect on my mood. Even a brisk 30-minute walk can provide the exercise you need, as well as make you feel more relaxed and better about yourself.
3. Exercise can help prevent certain health conditions and diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic, regardless of your current weight, being active increases high density lipoprotein (HDL) or the so-called “good” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. The combined effect is to keep your blood flowing smoothly, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
If you already have a chronic condition (as I do with dystonia), regular exercise helps manage it. Keeping active can prevent a variety of problems, including stroke, depression, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and falls.
4. Exercise stimulates your thinking. There’s something about taking a walk or doing my routine exercises that’s conducive to generating ideas. For instance, if you have to write something and you feel stuck for a topic, taking a walk or otherwise exercising can spur thoughts of what you might wish to write about. Simply moving around gets the blood flowing and lets your mind wander. These are conditions conducive to creativity.
5. Exercise promotes better sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular physical exercise can help you fall sleep faster and promotes deeper sleep. Just don’t do it too close to bedtime or it may energize you so much, it defeats the purpose.
These are just a few benefits of regular exercise. Keep in mind that it’s important not to overdo anything, including physical activity. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you been sedentary for a long time, have chronic health issues, or have any concerns.
However, as with most things, exercise done in moderation is usually good no matter what.