As I was browsing Pinterest last weekend, an infographic caught my eye.
Enter: The Twelve Mental Benefits of Exercise!!!!
If you can’t view the infographic, the artwork lists the following:
- Make you feel better with endorphins
- Overall mood booster
- Encourages pain tolerance (what?)
- Improves brain power
- Improves character
- Self Discipline
- Help with Addiction Recovery
- Combat Depression
- Gives you a ‘runner’s high’
- Boost Concentration
While I think this information is a little bit cheesy and overdone, the designer has something going here. There are SO many benefits to exercise that you may not visually notice each day in your lifestyle, but it makes a difference.
If I stick to a normal exercise routine and hit the gym before work (even if it’s during the most ungodly hours), I find myself in a lighter and brighter mood for the rest of the day. My family and friends will know if I haven’t completed a workout in a few days because they are usually stuck with my grumpiness!
But will all the benefits listed above, how long will the benefits last after an exercise routine? Scientists tested this study on a group of lab rats to gauge the longevity of brain power post-exercise.
A test group of rats were given exercise wheels to run at will and the control grow had locked wheels. When the activity stopped, the active rats still had an increase of memory retention and housed twice as many newborn neurons in the hippocampus than the control group. It wasn’t until three weeks of a sedentary lifestyle the the test group lost newborn neuron growth.
The takeaway is that consistency is key. As I think about it, I realize I start to feel really crappy and grouchy if I miss a week or more of a good, sweaty workout. If I’m working out pretty consistent but miss one, two or three days a week, I’m pretty OK with it. I used to beat myself up about it, but it’s just one small step in my journey to a healthy lifestyle.
“Slow and steady wins the race”