12 Mental Benefits of Exercise

I found this while perusing the web and thought it was so cool.  Here are a few of my favorites;

Exercise will make you feel better – so true! Theres nothing better than a good runners high.  Exercise releases endorphins which are neurotransmitters that are also released during excitement, pain and love.  They resemble opiates (think morphine) because they produce a similar analgesic, or pain relieving, effect and make you feel happy and relaxed. 

Overall mood booster – see above, lots of endorphins.  Exercise is also a good way to get some me time and think through problems or to completely shut yourself off from the world – whatever you need. 

Confidence – absolutely! Exercising can definitely improve self esteem and give you a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Self Discipline – I have learned so much about commitment and hard work from exercise that I can easily translate into the rest of my life.  Its really nice to push yourself once in a while and see what you’re really capable of.

Combats depression – again, the amazing powers of endorphins! If I’m ever feeling down in the dumps or am overly anxious about something a nice run will always cheer me up.

 

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20 reasons why running is the perfect post graduation workout

It’s really easy

1. It’s free! No gym subscription, equipment costs or training fees.

2. You already know how to do it.  Put one foot in front of the other…

3. You can do it anywhere and at any time.

Fitness Benefits

4.  Compared to other cardio activities it burns far more calories – depending on your weight and size – somewhere between 705 – 865 calories per hour.  This compared to stairs (637-746), rowing (606-739), cross-country skiing (595-678) or biking (498-604).

5. Running will truly reduce your body fat percentage. The ACSM studied individuals who ran more than 50 miles per week and found they had significantly higher HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol), lower triglyceride levels (body fat), and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease compared to individuals who ran less than 10 miles.

6. Running is an incredibly time efficient work out.  If you go for a 30-minute run, you are truly working out for the full 30 minutes.

7. Running is believed to be one of the most efficient fat burning exercises.  Scientists believe this may be due to the weight-bearing and pounding of running that you don’t get with exercises like cycling or swimming.

Physical Health Benefits

8. Running will strengthen your heart.  Every time your foot hits the ground your leg muscles contract forcing blood back towards your heart, making it work harder to pump it back to your leg muscles.  Like any other muscle, forcing the heart to work harder strengthens it.

9. Related to this, running has been shown to decrease your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

10. Additionally, running has been shown to lower blood pressure and boost immunity.

11. Many people believe that running can be tough on your joints, but it actually helps prevent osteoporosis by helping keep excess weight off so there is less strain on your knees.  It also increases blood and oxygen flow to your joints, which can flush out toxins and strengthen your ligaments.

12. There seems to be a correlation between how much you run and your risk of developing many types of cancers (including colon, breast, endometrial, and lung).  The British Journal of Cancer recently found that active people, those who ran or walked for 5-6 hours a week, were 24% less likely to develop colon cancer than those who only walked for 30 minutes/week.  Similarly, the National Cancer Institute claims that women with the highest levels of aerobic activity have a 30% less chance of developing breast cancer than those who do no vigorous activity.

13. Surprisingly, running has also been shown to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

14. Who doesn’t want to live longer? Stanford University School of Medicine tracked approximately 500 runners and 500 healthy non-runners over the age of 50 for 20 years.  They all took a disability test at the beginning of the study that evaluated how easily they completed simple tasks like washing their hair, cutting meat or opening a cartoon of milk.  As the subjects aged the disability levels were significantly lower in runners than non-runners suggesting runners age much better.  The study concluded that running improved response to vaccination and improved learning thinking and memory.  Additionally, after 20 years, 85% of runners were still alive while only 66% of non-runners were…

15. Running has been shown to increase bone mass and lower inflammation. 

Mental Health Benefits

16. Running can also be incredibly beneficial to your mental health.  In fact, it is common for mental health experts to prescribe running to treat depression and drug and alcohol addiction. 

17. Stress Relief!!!

Other bonuses 

18. Guilt free me time! Running is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy your own company. 

19. Self Defense – if you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation it’s always good to be able to get away from it as fast as possible!

20. Running can be a great way to discover places.  Since you are on foot and not rushing to get anywhere is particular you may discover things you’d otherwise drive right by.

15 minute butt and abs

15 minute workout, 15 minute butt and abs, butt workout, abs workout

You ever see those guys at the gym who only do bicep curls and bench press? My brother recently introduced me to the term ‘glory muscles’ to describe thosewho only work on specific muscle groups for looks.  Which got me thinking, are there female glory muscles? I think without question the two areas of my body I’m most obsessed with are my abs and butt.  Since graduation they are the areas that have ‘slipped’ the most!  After trying a bunch of different exercises I put together this quick workout to try and target those areas.  Unfortunately, as the saying goes, you can’t see abs when they’re under a layer of fat, so the first step is always cardio, cardio, cardio! This is a nice little add on after you get that heart rate going though…or for those days when you literally only have 15 minutes to workout.  I think its important to keep your blood flowing while you work on certain muscle groups which is why the exercises are sandwiched between 30s of cardio.  I also think this prevents boredom and helps you stay focused.  I will post tutorials of the specific exercises later!