Where to begin?
Being physically active has SO many benefits!
Maybe you know about the endorphin rush that leaves you feeling lighter and happier.
But did you know that being more physically active can also improve period symptoms? How great is that!
Today we’re going to talk about our 3 favorite benefits of being physically active.
You won’t want to live without these (we know we don’t!).
This is probably the most commonly known benefit of physical activity - happiness (that endorphin rush).
In life - especially in motherhood, there are a lot of things we can’t control.
And, if you’re like most of us, this can cause you a lot of stress and anxiety.
So what’s something you can do to help alleviate that stress and anxiety? Exercise!
Did you know that “happiness, like stress, relies on chemical reactions (endorphins, dopamine and serotonin) in our body”?
Most of us try to improve our mood or decrease our stress with things that do the exact opposite - like watching tv for hours on end or scrolling through social media.
While these things “may offer short-term relief, they have negative long-term effects”.
The good news? A better solution is within reach. It isn’t expensive and it’s not complicated.
What is it? Getting ourselves moving!
Any physical activity will do - walking, biking, dancing, hiking, biking, yoga, or whatever other movement you find enjoyable!
“Research shows that physically active people are more satisfied with their lives and that exercise itself is strongly linked to happiness.”
If you’re not sure you’re ready for a 30-minute workout quite yet, don’t fret!
According to research, “within five minutes after moderate exercise you are likely to experience a mood-enhancement effect.”
“Physical activity literally boosts your mood.”
Here are some quick tips for your physical activity:
- Choose something you will enjoy doing.
- Try moving outdoors (the fresh air and sunshine are so good for you!).
- Find a friend or community to exercise with.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace that of a professional. It’s always important to seek the advice of a professional in regards to your individual condition and when starting an exercise program.
The second way that movement benefits us is through our family.
Our kids imitate what we do and this is no different when it comes to being physically active.
Studies have shown that childrens’ physical activity levels are directly associated with that of their parents.
Which means that more active parents will have more active kids and they will all experience the benefits of movement together!
So how can we support healthy movement in our families?
Start by making physical activity a priority!
Maybe this means it comes before chores, or even homework (gasp!). With the increased focus, maybe everyone will get their other work done more efficiently after some invigorating movement!
Here are some suggestions to help get your family moving:
- Practice being a positive role model by increasing your physical activity, practicing healthy sleep habits and decreasing your sedentary behavior and screen time.
- Schedule in physical activity at the start of the week to make sure it will be a priority.
- Find activities that are fun for the whole family, like outdoor walks, swimming, hiking, biking, dance parties, or badminton.
- “Encourage more outdoor time.” This is a simple, effective way of limiting screentime and naturally boosting everyone’s mood. It can also improve sleep quality.
- When possible, choose the active form of transportation. Maybe you can walk to the park instead of driving. Or take the stairs instead of the elevator. It can even be as simple as parking farther away at the store so you can walk more.
And last, but not least - focus. Physical activity helps us to focus!
I’m not sure about you, but this is something I struggle with as a mom.
There are always a million things on my plate and I have a hard time focusing on pretty much anything.
Has anyone else experienced this kind of mom-brain? Let’s see how moving can help with that!
“Physical activity, specifically aerobic activity, positively affects our ability to focus and pay attention - and that goes for kids, teens and adults. After just 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, the brain works harder to resist distractions, improving your ability to pay attention.”
What a great way to start the day! Who doesn’t want to feel more focused, and less distracted during their day?
But how exactly does moving improve your focus?
The brain chemical that helps with concentration, memory, and mental sharpness, is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
So...? Well, physical activity helps to release it (the focusing chemical)!
This is why we experience improvements in our attention, memory, and problem solving immediately following exercise.
You know what else is exciting? The part of our brain that is the core of our learning and memory systems (the hippocampus) “grows as people get fitter”!
How cool is that?
By getting regular physical activity, you can actually grow the part of your brain that helps you learn and remember things!
And the excitement doesn’t end there. According to studies, “moderate aerobic physical activity not only improves cognitive function, but concentration as well.”
In need of some extra focus? Try some of these aerobic activities:
- Go for a walk
- Find a friend and go for a bike ride
- Go for a run
- Try out a group fitness class
- Take some walking breaks throughout your day (even if you’re at work)
- Join a team sport, like volleyball, basketball or hockey in the evenings
Which benefit is most encouraging to you? Is it that boost of energy and happiness? Maybe you need some extra focus? Or maybe you feel like your kids could use a mood-boost!
Whatever you’re reasoning, physical activity will benefit you.
So even when motherhood threatens to drag you down, fight back with movement! We’ll be moving right there with you.
And don’t forget, you’re doing a great job! Don’t listen to that inner critic that tells you otherwise.
Kelsey from Joyleta
P.s. Are you pregnant or breastfeeding but want to keep moving? Need a nursing sports bra or maternity workout leggings? Check out these maternity activewear pieces that will allow you to keep moving!