The Emotional Cost of Not Exercising

This morning as struggled with a 4 am wake up call from a coughing child, I grumbled and barked directions to get the cough under control, and struggled with another interrupted night of sleep.

In the back of mind however, a nagging voice was creeping up on me, “you’re actually pretty wide awake, and your body feels ready and alert, drop the sleepy act…”

Soon I paused and realized what was happening.  I had gotten over a cold myself which prevented a good workout for about a week (an unheard of amount of time for me,) and just last night I had been able to do a complete routine.

I had dived into mobility drills, a short yoga warm-up, and I even tried out a couple new exercises on my suspension trainer.  It felt good!

Because of this I had slept better and my body, instead of aching, actually felt prepared for anything.

I ended up back in bed for another hour, but the effects of exercise on my mental well-being made themselves more apparent as I drove my son to school.

The feeling coursing through my body was one of strength and an uplifted spirit.  Genuine smiles went out to everyone I saw. I wanted them to feel good too, seriously.

Of course, everyone knows regular exercise is healthy, but the psychological effects are just as big a benefit.
Working out regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle prevents emotional waste from building up, and gives us a way to work ti out of our systems. It does this by increasing blood flow and flushing out impurities, as well as through the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters.

This isn’t an essay on the physiology of exercise, however.  The chemistry works, period; and a good workout makes you feel more confident.  By increasing strength, endurance, and flexibility, you feel more capable of anything the day throws at you; possibilities open up that would not have come to mind before.

All of these benefits help balance us emotionallyl.  When stressful situations come up in our lives, we are more prepared to handle them.  If it becomes too much, well, exercise can be an outlet.

None of this should come as a surprise though,  Our bodies were designed to move!  Just try sitting in a chair for several hours at a time if you doubt it.  So it makes sense that all of the systems benefit from the expression of their purpose through movement.

Don’t wait to get the body either.  Life is too short for that; and there are no excuses.  “Wait, but my blood pressure is high and I’m diabetic and I’m paralyzed from the waist down!”  Sorry, but see a doctor and they will tell you that blood pressure meds work better with exercise; and the paralysis?  Nope.  Ever seen those guys with the gorilla arms gunning a sporty wheelchair on a marathon course?  Wow.  Who’s disabled now?

Now I am not saying it’s easy to get going no matter who you are, but that’s just another excuse.  Think Hellen Keller; her accomplishments as a deaf and blind woman make you wonder if she isn’t a fictional character.

One last example before I jump off the soapbox.  A couple of weeks ago, a video was shared on Facebook, maybe you’ve seen it.  Here was a man who was born with no arms, and no legs, and whose only semblance of an appendage is an underdeveloped foot.

He’s a motivational speaker who they showed moving smoothly down a field with a soccer ball, and speaking with absolute inspiration.  I nearly slapped myself for every excuse I made for not grabbing something in life.  There are many videos of him on the internet, so I won’t post them here.  Just look up:  Nick Vujicic.

Find something fun to do, and get moving.  Make it an activity you really are attracted to.  Beach volleyball? MMA? Boxing? Pilates? Handball against the garage? An adult skateboarding?  Surfing?  Go out and pursue it, and sooner or later, you’ll own it.

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