Are you looking for ways to enhance your mood and improve your emotional state of mind? If so, don’t discount the effects of regular exercise. Besides improving physical health, studies have shown that people who exercise regularly also enhance their mood and mental health. And when you take control of your physical health and mental health, you will find it much easier to overcome obstacles you face along the road to financial wellbeing as well.
How Exercise Improves Mood
The science behind how regular exercise enhances your mood is not complicated. According to Healthy Aging Expert Michael Stibich Ph.D., “When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals all work together to make you feel good. In addition, after exercising you may feel a sense of accomplishment and your muscles will relax deeper because of the workout — easing tension and strain.”
Check with Doctor Before Beginning Regular Exercise
If you meet certain conditions, you should always discuss your plans to begin exercising with your doctor first. If you have been sedentary for a while, are over age 50, or if you have a medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes; then you should contact your doctor before starting an exercise program. Because we can not dole out medical advice and to get a good baseline of your health to see how well you are progressing, you would be well served to meet with your healthcare provider prior to starting your new exercise routine.
Start Small for Success
What is the optimal amount of exercise to enhance mood and improve health? Well, that is an ongoing discussion with lots of research and still no definitive answer. In order to not get discouraged and to ease into your new exercise program, however, try to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week. You can start exercising for 20 minutes and then build up to 30 minutes. As you get used to regular exercise, increase the amount of days and the duration of each session.
S.M.A.R.T. Goals for Exercise
Goals teach patience, motivate achievement and reward planned actions. Because they are solution-oriented, goals create both unconscious and conscious positive movement towards a conclusion. Not all goals, however, are created equal. As you move forward with your exercise routine, use S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound, and these types of goals will improve your odds of seeing success.
Exercise for Enjoyment
Find activities you enjoy when you want to use exercise to enhance your mood and improve your health. You can also combine things you enjoy when trying to find the right exercise routine to fit your lifestyle. For example, if you enjoy the gardens in your local park, then forgo the treadmill and move your walk or jog outside to take in nature. And if you like the benefits of mindfulness meditation to calm the mind, then yoga might be right up your alley.
You Don’t Have to Fly Solo
Many of us equate exercise as a solo activity, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you enjoy taking classes (painting, cooking, etc,), then you will most likely enjoy exercising in a group setting. Even if you do not like group classes, finding an accountability partner for your new journey is an excellent idea. An accountability partner (even if they don’t exercise with you) will provide positive feedback and support as you begin your new exercise routine.
Remember, the most important step you can take to begin improving your mood with exercise is the first step. Just get started by adding regular exercise to your life and you’ll see benefits beyond enhancing your mood. And those benefits will carry over into other parts of your life including your journey towards financial wellbeing.
Written By Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW
Jump for Joy: Start Exercising and Enhancing Your Mood with These Tips was originally published @ Financial Therapy Network and has been syndicated with permission.
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