Warning: There is only one picture in this post. Sometimes topics need to be discussed and the words are more important than looking at pictures.
News flash people– I am not a machine. Or am I?
Why is this up for debate? Let me explain.
Some days I can eat what I consider the perfect meals (for me) and feel full, fueled and ready to tackle anything that comes my way.
My runs are amazing, my energy is amazing, I am focused and not hungry.
And then the next day, I can start off with the same breakfast and not feel the same. Still hungry, not fueled or focused and my runs/workouts suffer.
Or hmm, am I more like a machine than I think?
Machines really aren’t that perfect. They don’t run the same perfect way everyday like they are supposed to. Especially if the machine in question is my computer.
It freezes, doesn’t obey my keyboard commands, shuts off, jumps screens…should I continue?
And once you fix one problem, doesn’t another always arise? You can delete a virus from the system but then another program stops working. You can shut down, restart and reboot and then the internet connection is gone.
Kinda like me. One day my navicular bone has an issue. Then once I fixed that problem, I have a twinge in my hamstring, a pain near my knee or ice near my groin.
Perhaps all we need is a little bit of a 1.21 jiggawatt jolt to function perfectly everyday?
Hey, it worked for time travel so there must be something to the jiggawatt.
Truth is, nothing and no one is perfect.
But, there is one way to consistently assist ourselves in functioning to the best of our ability: EXERCISE.
We know I forever preach the importance of 30 minutes a day of physical activity.
If you missed the article I shared on facebook yesterday, I am feeling forgiving today and will share it again now.
I posted a link to a fabulous and informative article from Shape magazine that lists the “13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.”
Exercise is so embedded in my routine it is like brushing my teeth and hair each day. I don’t really need the reminder or boost to get out there but I do sometimes need to remind myself that whatever I am struggling with at any given moment will almost always feel or at least seem better after a good run, walk or interval session on the elliptical machine.
I am hoping you choose to click on the link to read the full article therefore I am just going to point some of the highlights:
13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise (as stated in Shape Magazine):
- Reduce Stress – Exercise increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.
- Boost Happy Chemicals – (Endorphins!) Getting a happy buzz from working out for just 30 minutes a few times a week can instantly boost overall mood.
- Enjoy The Great Outdoors –Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun (while wearing sunscreen, of course!) can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.
- Alleviate Anxiety – Moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety sensitivity
- Boost Brain Power – Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning.
- Sharpen Memory-Regular physical activity boosts memory and ability to learn new things
- Help Control Addiction –Short exercise sessions can also effectively distract drug or alcohol addicts, making them de-prioritize cravings (at least in the short term)
- Tap into Creativity- A heart-pumping gym session can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards.
- Get More Done- Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers.
- Prevent Cognitive Decline- Exercise boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
- Improve Self Confidence- Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness.
- Increase Relaxation- A moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia.
- Inspire Others – Studies show that most people perform better on aerobic tests when paired up with a workout buddy.
It isn’t always about calories burned, running to lose weight, lifting to gain muscle, what to eat and not to eat to be the “right” size.
Exercise is an effective (AND HEALTHY) tool to assist us both physically and mentally on a daily basis.
Let’s face it. Life isn’t always fair. Things are not always peachy.
Sometimes situations arise in our daily lives that challenge us. We need to learn how to cope and deal in a healthy manner with whatever might be thrown our way.
As a mother I now need to teach my son these valuable life lessons as well.
Sometimes I am busy explaining to him that life isn’t fair- we can’t get a dog today, you can’t have an iPhone and I don’t really care if your friends can stay up past 9:00 pm every night.
But I have also had to explain the unexplainable horror of Sandy Hook a few months ago and last night on the way to baseball practice we had a discussion about North Korea and Nuclear War.
He wants to know what is wrong with these terrible people.
Well, for one, I told him that they probably didn’t listen to their mother growing up.
And, they clearly didn’t get their 30 minutes a day of exercise.
I need to know:
How often to you experience the dreaded hungry day?
Does your computer drive you nutty?
Do you feel better after you exercise?