Let’s address physical activity. Before you cringe, and click away… just hang on with me for a minute.
An integral part of any healthy lifestyle is exercise. While diet is important, it can’t provide some of the same benefits as exercise. Making movement a priority in your day is key to establishing healthy habits. Plan your day around fitting in at least 30 minutes of exercise, at least 5 times a week. While it has obvious benefits for weight loss, exercise offers lesser known benefits as well.
Boost Your Mood
Exercise can help boost your mood by increasing your endorphins. These “feel good” hormones flood your brain while you exercise, and continue for hours even after your workout has ended. Exercise has been referred to as a natural antidepressant. It doesn’t have to be high intensity either. Even low-intensity exercises have mood-boosting benefits. So start by just talking a walk!
Improve Your Sleep
Regular exercise can also benefit your sleep. It can help strengthen your circadian rhythms, which not only impacts your sleep but how refreshed you feel when you wake up. Psychology Today addresses the impact of exercise on sleep, stating, “A recent National Sleep Foundation poll found that regular exercisers were significantly more likely to report sleeping well on most nights than people who were not physically active. Research has shown exercise can help to improve not only the quantity of sleep but also the quality: studies show daytime physical activity may stimulate longer periods of slow-wave sleep, the deepest and most restorative stages of sleep.”
Make Small Changes
Like anything else, exercise is a habit that is developed over time. Don’t be afraid to start small. If you can’t commit to 30 minutes of exercise at once, then break it down into smaller chunks. Just start taking steps to work towards 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. You will be benefiting your healthy lifestyle, and establishing new habits for years to come.