How to Feel Better Instantly: 5 Ways Exercise Will Improve Your Life Right Now
We know, we know. You don’t need to feel guiltier about the amount you exercise, but we thought it might be helpful focusing on the benefits exercise has on the mind, rather than the body.
A 2006 study stated that exercise reduces anxiety, depression and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function, in other words, you won’t just be happier after exercise, but your brain will work better.
Much like the philosophy behind our food is about helping you achieve your highest potential – mind, body and soul – our view of exercise the same. Staying active gives you the energy and inclination to live the life you want.
Renee, Wholistically Healthy’s founder, says she needs regular exercise to helps her “empty her cup” in the morning so that she can refill it again during the day. She simply must exercise strenuously at least three times a week.
“The motivation for me is that if I don’t, I can become restless with excess “mental energy”. Exercise really helps me settle, in combination with my morning and evening routine, its actually paramount for me to good wellbeing.”
Renee exercises for the results it gives her now. And let’s face it. We all like instant gratification. And doing a little bit now (or tomorrow morning) will help you live better in the day. So, if you head out for a 20-30 minute walk, how can you expect to feel afterwards?
1. You’ll be happier
You’ve heard how exercise releases endorphins, a neurochemical that naturally elevates your mood? But do you know you don’t have to slave at the gym for months to get a dose of this feel-good chemical? The American Psychological Association says it takes as little as 5 minutes after moderate exercise for people to experience the benefit. And moderate exercise can be anything from walking the dog, to going for a light swim. If you’re prone to feeling blue, like some of us are, there have been countless studies linking long-term exercise with the improvement of depression symptoms. Exercise is known for boosting your serotonin levels, acting like a natural (and some argue) more effective anti-depressant.
2. You'll be less stressed
Stressful day ahead? It’s a good idea to go for a walk before you tackle it. Exercise is an excellent way to manage stress, as it reduces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, as well as increases concentrations of “norepinephrine in brain regions involved in the body's stress response." This doesn’t mean you’ll be completely stress-free, but exercise gives you a better chance of managing the stress you do have. Also, the very behaviour of taking some time away from the stressful situation is therapeutic in itself.
3. You'll be sharper
Do you need to be on point for an upcoming meeting? Choose this day to exercise. Research shows an increase in cognitive performance, particularly the processing of information, as well as memory storage and retrieval after exercise. There’s also research linking exercise to increased productivity, so not only will you be able to think more clearly, you may be able to get more done. This is why it’s a good idea to exercise in the morning, as it’s during the day where we need the most brain power.
4. You’ll have more energy
Too tired to work? Your first thought might be to reach for the coffee cup, not get your body moving, but exercise can be just the ticket to feeling livelier for your day ahead. As soon as you hit the pavement or the gym, your body starts to pumps more oxygen around your body, and the same endorphins that raise your mood, also raise your energy level. And if you keep up the exercise at least three time a week? Even better. A 2008 University of Georgia study recruited 36 people who had experienced regular symptoms of fatigue but didn’t usually exercise, after six weeks of moderate exercise, they had a 20 per cent increase in energy levels.
5. You’ll be more creative
When you research exercise and creativity, you find many creatives who have added exercise into their routine because they’ve found it helps them in the production of creative work. Some exercise to get our of their own heads, others find the repetitive movement meditative. Many swear that it just makes them focus better. The science backs up this phenomenon. Research into walking’s effect on creativity at Stanford University in 2014 found that 81% of participants showed improvement in divergent thinking (thought process of developing new ideas) after walking than those who didn’t. Exercise is also connected to the growth of the hippocampus, which along with mood stability and memory, is also believed to play a part in creative thinking.
So what are you waiting for? We’ll see you back here in 20-40 minutes when you're feeling happier, livelier and more creative. Do you need healthy meals to back up your active lifestyle? Check out our healthy, clean and vibrant meals here.