Women over 40 can benefit from lower stress levels through fitness training
Most people exercise for one reason: to look good. Fair enough, but that’s only one reason and only one result. There’s an even better imperative to be more physically active: to improve your mind. Research shows exercise benefits how you think as well as how you appear.
Don’t cheat yourself & make excuses
Think you’re too tired to go for a walk? Do it anyway. Within five or 10 minutes, your stress level will greatly reduce. Strolling out of doors will bring you immediate benefits. Our bodies are movement machines and the outdoors is where we find solace, focus and pleasing distractions. Think of even a short walk as a moment to soothe your inner beast. While you don’t actually have to hug a tree, exercise outside is a great way to rebalance your mind and your emotions. Better still, walk and talk with someone you adore. It puts right a great deal in the world.
Sweat to lower stress
If you choose to work up a sweat, that provides an extra bonus. Slightly more strenuous exercise that works up a sweat can help increase your body’s concentration of norepinephrine, a naturally-produced chemical that moderates how your brain handles stress. More exercise means you can better handle what life throws at you.
We may want to learn how to achieve happiness, but it seems that to get there we have to use our bodies. Exercise also releases endorphins, hormones which fuel a sense of well-being, happiness and sometimes euphoria. Studies even suggest that exercise can help lessen symptoms in the clinically depressed.
This is why doctors say that those suffering from any level of depression or anxiety should schedule exercise – whether in the gym or in the park with a workout buddy – as part of their recovery. It doesn’t have to be an hour, either: just 30 minutes of exercise can make a 24-hour difference.
Balanced body balanced mind
Along with mood maintenance, cardiovascular exercise has been shown to create new brain cells (in a process called neurogenesis) and improve brain performance overall. Research suggests that a good workout can increase the level of BDNF, a protein in the brain connected to decision-making and better learning. According to a 2005 article in Current Opinion in Psychiatry, those participating in regular physical exercise have better overall health no matter what their initial or existing physical condition.
Exercise helps everyone maintain a better mental and emotional spin on life. A balanced body, a balanced mind. What’s not to like?