The month of September is Self-Care Awareness Month, but the need to take care of our minds, bodies, and souls should really be a year-round priority. In today’s fast-paced and stimulating world, coupled with overly scheduled personal and professional lives, our own well-being often takes a backseat. Factor in the seemingly flawless lives showcased on social media, and it’s no surprise that stress, depression, and anxiety are on the rise.
The term “self-care” can be a divisive one. For some, it conjures up images of a lavish spa day, a massage, or pricey skin treatments. While that can absolutely be the reset so many of us need, these experiences aren’t always practical.
Enter a more feasible hero in the self-care game: Exercise.
In the same way the term “self-care” can raise eyebrows, “exercise” is another word that can send people packing. When solely associated with weight loss, physical appearance, competition, and discomfort, the many benefits of exercise toward our overall well-being get overlooked. Virtually any type of exercise, from a leisurely walk to yoga or circuit training, can positively impact our mental and physical health!
Here are just a few reasons why…
Endorphins are the feel-good hormones in the brain that get released when we exercise, especially if the activity is moderate in intensity, like light jogging or weight training. With moderate intensity, your heart rate and breathing speed up. You can talk, but you might be a bit short of breath, and you’ll probably sweat at least a little. Research shows endorphins are released 20 – 30 minutes post-exercise and can help relieve pain and boost your mood. Exercise can also slow the release of cortisol, a hormone that surges when we’re under chronic stress.
Mental Health Matters
Exercise not only releases endorphins but also the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which both play a role in maintaining mood. Research also associates regular exercise with a lower incidence of depression, as it helps nerves in the brain make new connections. Sharpened focus, heightened alertness, and better sleep are also positive side effects of exercise.
We often forget to celebrate our own victories and strengths as we get swept up in the whirlwind of others’ needs – be it family, friends, coworkers, or the community. As a consequence, it’s easy to drop the ball when it comes to caring for ourselves.
Exercise is a great way to boost self-esteem, increase self-confidence, and get more comfortable with who we are. It’s a chance to set and achieve goals, gain a sense of accomplishment, and nurture our overall sense of well-being.
As with any exercise regimen, be sure to talk with your doctor about starting a new routine. Start slow, choose activities you enjoy, and, most importantly, stay committed!
Founded in 2013, Infinity Fitness AZ is a locally owned gym in North Scottsdale. They are an elite performance facility for men, women, and youth. They offer adult and kids classes, personal training, and fitness challenges. To learn more or sign up, visit: https://www.infinityfitnessaz.com/.
April Wallace, Co-Owner, Infinity Fitness AZ
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