Lunch vs. exercise

We have all either heard it or said
it ourselves “I want to exercise but I just can’t find the time.” Physical
activity is a vital part of our total health and wellbeing, yet so many people
just can’t seem to find time to fit it into their busy schedule. 

Convenience is often the key to
consistent exercise success. You need to fit exercise into your life at a time
when you are mostly likely to do it.

Often people exercise first thing
in the morning before unexpected things come up to distract them from their
goals.  If you are not a morning person,
you might try hitting the gym straight after work or going for a walk after
diner. 

You need to find 30 to 60 minutes
in your day and schedule exercise in, just like you would a doctor’s
appointment, a lunch date or even a trip to the supermarket.

Another option to fit physical
activity into your life is to get active in the middle of your day such as at
lunch hour. Getting active during your lunch break is a great way to incorporate
exercise into a busy lifestyle. You can go for a short walk, hit the gym or
take an exercise class.

There are a lot of other great
reasons to take a break during your work day to get some physical activity.
Exercise has been proven to improve brain function and productivity, reduce
stress and improve blood flow to the brain and muscles.

It also improves mood, combats
chronic disease, helps manage weight, promotes better sleep and can actually be
fun.

Most studies suggest that
participation in regular physical activity plays a positive role in improving
employee health. By adding in a midday exercise break, employees will be less
tired, more relaxed, more productive and alert, along with boosting their
morale and improving memory.

Another great reason to exercise
morning, noon or night is the effect it has on your stress levels.

When we are overworked and run
down, we usually turn to things that make us feel good such as food, alcohol,
sleep or drugs. Instead of reaching for chocolate when you are stressed, why
not try getting physical.

One effective, healthy way to
reduce stress is physical activity. We all know exercise is good for us, but
did you know that almost any form of exercise can decrease the production of
stress hormones? A regular exercise routine not only helps prevent chronic
diseases and build muscle and endurance; it can also help you manage stress.

Exercise helps pump up the
production of endorphins in your body – your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.
After a game of tennis, volleyball or a run, you feel great for a reason.
Participating in regular physical activity can even increase your self
confidence and often help if you suffer from mild depression and anxiety.

How do you get started?  Start off slow and keep it simple. If you
haven’t exercised in two years, don’t expect to run six miles on your first go.
If you do something you enjoy or used to enjoy at a time of the day that is
good for you, you are more likely to stick with it. So if you love playing
squash, grab a friend and play squash; if you love hitting the gym, get back
into a regular routine.

Activities such as Pilates can also
help you relax by forcing you to concentrate on what your body is doing
(instead of what is stressing you out) while helping you work on core strength,
stability and flexibility. 

Every day, we find time to eat,
brush our teeth, take a shower and watch TV, so surely finding 30 to 60 minutes
to get physical can’t be too difficult! Make physical activity a priority in
your life and feel good, live longer- stress free.

Deanna Smith is an exercise physiologist
and Pilates Instructor at ENERGY. She can be reached at: [email protected] or 946-6006.

FEATlunchSTORY

Exercise reduces stress levels, improves fitness and promotes weight loss.
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