Gym Zen – Yes Exercise Has Powerful Effects on Your Mind

Exercise Can Be Your Happy Place of Escape…

For many of us, at first, it is a chore to go workout. We are so busy…our work, the kids, the house, the bills, the responsibility…we cannot handle one more item on the agenda nor one more responsibility. Solution: the gym and exercise in general can become your happy place, and there are physiological as well as psychological components for this.

Your Mental Health

Many studies have concluded that done in the right way, exercise causes release of very important hormones in your body, including Serotonin and Endorphines, causing an elevation in your moods. Cardiovascular exercise in particular has been shown to be linked to a strong elevation in the moods of persons with depression, as well as for persons who do not suffer from symptoms of depression.

In addition to these hormones, exercise has many other positive psychological effects:

1) it helps give a better body image

2) it focuses your mind away from the stresses of life, as a “mini-vacation”

3) creates potential positive social interaction

4) creates a goal driven life-style

5) helps boost a positive outlook on life, which may have an effect on all aspects of life

So how can exercise become your “happy place”?

We all know it is hard to get to the gym or any other place for your workout. There are certain tricks to getting around this. First, even though doing it at least 3 times a week is better than nothing, try to make it a routine.

Even if you only do 20 minutes per day, do five times per week so that you work it into your daily routine. If you do it three times per week it is easier to cancel today because you always have tomorrow. Our minds play tricks on us. Work it into a routine where you do not even think about it. It does not matter if your workout routine is at the gym, at home, at the park, in your neighborhood, or with a video. Work fitness into your daily routine.

Make a set schedule for yourself which covers both strength training and cardiovascular activity. On any given day, it is good to divide your time evenly between strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Each muscle group should be covered at least one time per week From three to four exercises should be done per muscle group. For example, the week can be divided between leg exercises, biceps, triceps, shoulder, back and chest. Two arm muscle groups can be done on one day, for example. Having this type of schedule will help you keep to your discipline since most of us do not wish to miss a given muscle group once it is part of our routine.

At first, it is a struggle. Little by little you will find, however, that you will look forward to it. You will get annoyed if something gets in its way. Eventually you will be at a place where, if you do not go, it will feel as if something is missing. At first the workout is strictly a physical thing in your mind. Little by little if you establish your routine, you will likely find need to do the workout for your mind more than your body. You will need it to get rid of the tensions and stress of the day….your escape. This may take some time…but it will happen.

Enjoy your happy place!

As always, it is important that you consult your physician prior to engaging in any exercise activity. A fitness professional also is helpful in assessing your own particular exercise needs and regimen.

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