Working shift work or long hours can be tiring for both the body and the brain.
We’ve all heard the recent saying, “Sitting is the new smoking…” But exercising even just a little bit everyday can not only boost your physical abilities but your mental abilities as well.
Regular exercise has been shown to:
- Reduce stress
- Keep anxiety and feelings of depression at bay
- Improve self-esteem
- Improve our sleep
With all these benefits you would think we would desire to get up and move… But after a long day, or night at work, running or doing aerobics or even just walking around the block is the last thing you feel like doing.
Here are just a few incentives that may help to motivate you.
- Give yourself a little reward. Maybe a healthy smoothie or perhaps you can watch that movie you have been thinking about. Over time your brain will associate the working out with the reward and you can simply stop the extra treat and feel good from the endorphin rush surging through your body.
- Put your work-out clothes or equipment in plain view. Even this simple reminder may cause you to “just do it.”
- Give yourself mini-challenges. If you are walking around the block, bet yourself you can do one more round… or if you are at the gym and doing 20 minutes on the treadmill, challenge yourself to do just 5 more minutes.
- Exercise with a friend or spouse. Having a partner definitely makes it harder to skip your exercise time. And you may feel a little healthy competition to “go the extra mile.”
But the biggest reward is your health. Knowing that whatever form of exercise you choose is going to make your body and mind work better is one of the best payoffs.
Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.
This better performance will pay off on the job as well as off. When our minds are sharper and our bodies more flexible we can think and move and work better then we could with a sedentary lifestyle.
If you need any more evidence to get moving here are some added benefits:
- Exercise strengthens your heart.
- It increases energy levels.
- It lowers your blood pressure.
- It improves muscle tone.
- It strengthens and builds bones.
- It helps reduce body fat.
- You look better!!
And lastly, if you can’t get motivated for yourself, do it for your loved ones. They want and need you to be healthy and productive for a long, long time.
So get up, get on that bike, pick up that racket, grab those golf clubs but do something. Your body and brain will thank you.