April 20, 2010

Exercise Doesn't Only Benefit Your Body!

So this may be a bit cliche, but regular exercise really does benefit more than just my body--it helps my self-esteem, my brain functions, gives me energy, and lifts my mood!
I've read studies proclaiming that regular exercise helps improve brain functions such as memory recall, attentiveness, problem-solving, and helps keep brain cells healthy, thus preventing dementia & Alzheimer's disease.
I've also read studies that describe how self-esteem rises simply by doing exercises. Mostly this happens because you are doing something positive for your body, and this effort makes you view yourself in a more positive light.
This is true for me. Even if I am not noticing or seeing any physical difference, I am still so proud of myself for doing something, anything, to take care of myself and get more physically fit. I automatically feel better about myself and my confidence rises, just because I am putting forth effort to improve myself.
Of course, do I even need to mention how regular physical activity helps prevent all kinds of maladies like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, depression, memory problems, and PMS symptoms?
Regular physical exercise truly is something you do for yourself now, and for a better future.
Today, I ran 3.5 miles, after taking a few non-running days. It was hard, but at around 3 miles I experienced the fabled "runner's high" euphoric feeling that many runners have experienced. For me, this feeling is a surge in energy, a strong "I can do it!" feeling, and a general sense of well-being and happiness. It wore off before the end of my run and I became tired again, but I finished extremely proud of myself and the healthy choice I had made to run.
Exercising is also a great de-stressor! Tiring out my body really helps all other worries or anxieties fade away. I think it's because my body is working so hard that I cannot waste energy stressing about something!
I've recently seen a magazine advertisement from some shoe company like Adidas or Saucony, and it shows a woman running mid-stride, running through a waterfall. The back half of her body is surrounded by negative words & thoughts like "stress", "anxiety"; and the front half of her body is exposed on the other side of the waterfall, with none of these words around her. She is in fact smiling a small, satisfied smile.
The tagline below the picture says something like "Running cleanses the body & soul".
Lately, I have been thinking about the positive affect on body and mind that exercise has, and this advertisement pictured exactly what I've been thinking about.
What about you? Are there any positive affects you notice about yourself when you exercise that I haven't mentioned here? Let me know about your experiences!


  1. Yeah, I had such low motivation this past winter. It was so hard to get motivated to run! But now it's so much better! Even when I run inside, I open up all the windows & enjoy the fresh air!