Physical activity and movement (in general) is important for your body, mood and energy, among other things. It’s been seen to be more effective than some antidepressants when it comes to depression. Also, it’s an excellent way of managing stress by giving you a stress outlet. Find out how easy it can be to add physical activity to your routine and the benefits you’ll gain from making it a regular part of your life.
When you are first starting out, it is important to start of small, especially if you haven’t been active for a very long time. This can be something as easy as walking for 20 minutes a day. Commit to doing this for at least 20 days. Watch how your mood and energy change as you begin to make this a regular part of your life. Afterwards, you can gradually increase the intensity of the activity by either increasing the time or by increasing the intensity (e.g. jogging).
Always remember to check in with yourself and evaluate how you are feeling. Continue to gradually increase the difficulty as you see fit (you can increase the time or intensity). Once you are comfortable with your activity level, you can integrate more intense forms of activity. For example you could do compound exercises – this involves training more than one muscle group at a time (e.g. squats, lunges, push-ups, etc.).
A good workout should make you feel good, like you just worked out and have achieved something. It shouldn’t make you feel miserable or completely exhausted. If you do not enjoy going to the gym, find an activity that you enjoy. Physical activity can be anything you want it to be – yoga, soccer, swimming, martial arts or even dancing – anything really that gets your heart rate up and increases your breathing. The important thing is to make a commitment to be active regularly. You’ll notice how much more energy you’ll have, how much better you’ll feel and the positive impacts it’ll have on your overall health.
This foundation is an awesome start in working towards your health goals, but if you have other underlying conditions, this is a good first step.
Adapted from a blog post by Dr. Charmagne Sia Lu, B.Sc. ND, Naturopathic Doctor