How Exercise and Eating Healthy Can Make You Happy
We all know that your health is important because, well, it’s what keeps you alive and operating. #ilovepancakes.
Most of us know the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle and exercise, but let me share just a few:
- People who are healthier live longer #imgonnamakeitto100
- Healthier people look and feel good
- When you exercise you release happy endorphins, therefore, increasing your mood
- It Relieves Stress
- Fights disease
- Decreases your risk of heart disease
- Boosts Energy
- Provides Mental Clarity
- Produces Better Sleep
- Increases Metabolism #burnthosecalories
- Lowers blood pressure #thatsagoodthing
- Creates stronger bones
The list goes on, but the result of all those things is simple…living a positive, happier, more fulfilling life!
Now that we know what happens overall, I want to talk about exercise and being healthy as it directly relates to the our happiness and our minds:
- Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. (1). #yourownpersonaldrug
- “Regular exercise can increase self-confidence...and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety (1).”
- Exercise can improve sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety (1).
- Exercise stimulates the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections. a.k.a. creating happy connections in your brain to form a happy brain! (2)
- Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.
- Studies have shown that when people take probiotics (supplements containing the good bacteria), their anxiety levels, perception of stress, and mental outlook improve, compared with people who did not take probiotics.
- Other studies have shown that the risk of depression is 25% to 35% lower in those who eat a traditional diet…[i.e. diets that] tend to be high in vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, and fish and seafood, and to contain only modest amounts of lean meats and dairy. They are also void of processed and refined foods and sugars.
- It is shown that drinking more water increases your mood. (3)
If you live a healthy lifestyle:
You can increase your feel-good mechanisms in your brain.
You can increase self-confidence, reduce stress, improve sleep, and decrease depression and anxiety.
You can stimulate the growth of new POSITIVE connections in your brain.
You can increase your mood.
Protect the brain from stress.
You don’t even have to CONVINCE yourself to be happy, your body produces those outcomes, by simply making healthier choices! #itsamazing
You can’t lose with exercise. (besides weight, that is).
How do you improve your health today?
7 Easy Healthy Habits for Happiness
This does not have to be anything extravagant. Don’t go thinking you have to start running marathons. Just MOVE YOUR BODY.
Did you know that research shows that just by walking 15 minutes a day you can improve your mood, health, and overall well being? Just 15 minutes. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes? (4).
Just walk, run, play a sport, do 10 minutes of body weight work outs, follow a workout video, yoga, dance, deep cleaning, anything you can think of that gets your body moving.
Tips about exercise and health
Workout on Mondays. I don’t know why, but your chances of working out during the week increase if you workout on Mondays. I think it’s because it puts you in the proper mindset and gets you over your hump.
Something is better than nothing. Don’t get into the mindset that “just” taking a walk or “just” doing a 10 minute workout is nothing. BECAUSE IT’S SOMETHING! Every bit helps, so if you only have 10 minutes, make the most of those 10 minutes.
It takes 66 days to form a habit. This can seem very discouraging, but really it’s supposed to help you realize that it takes time to create a habit, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a long time to get into a grove or routine.
It doesn’t have to suck. Don’t hear “suck” when I say exercise. Make it fun. Do something you enjoy like walking, dancing, playing a sport. If you hate running, don’t run. Don’t put exercise into a box, think outside the box. Be creative. Just move yo body!
Make a routine. The best way to be consistent with exercise is to make a routine and stick to a schedule. Pick at least 3x a week you can do it, and what times work best for you and try to stick to those days and times. It makes it easier to form a habit. Keep the commitments you make to yourself. Here are some tips for exercising with kids.
Blogs to Help with Exercise
Avocadu – All things yoga!
Popsugar Fitness – Great Exercise videos for every exercise you can think of. I use them often.
Beach Body – Great exercise videos and programs, but not all the videos are free, but they are great!
Cut out sugars
I don’t know about you, but I have a HUGE sweet tooth. I LOVE sugar. Try cutting out sugar from your diet. And if you can’t cut it out completely try only eating it once or twice a week. Just cut back. You don’t have to give up everything good. #donutsaremylife
Eat foods high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the “waste” (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells. (5)
It is recommended that unless you are deficient in one particular vitamin or mineral that you just try to eat a well-rounded diet with an “Emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, low-fat protein, and dairy products”. (6)
Start a Probiotic to improve your mental health.
As stated above, probiotics can help improve your mental health.
Eat more of these foods (7):
Eat more Vegetables and Fruits
As stated above fruits and veggies are great for making sure you get all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs, but vegetables can also help keep digestion normal, and has been linked to decrease the chance of several different diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Since eating a good balance diet decreases depression, vegetables are an amazing start to a balanced diet. (8).
Eat less processed food
Try to keep your diet as FRESH as you can. Meaning, less freezer meals, boxed dinners, and almost all packaged food, especially junk food. In order for it to be preserved, things have been added “up in there” that are not healthy!
Try eating 1 ingredient foods. For example fruits and veggies, fresh chicken, healthy breads, cheese, eggs. #iseemoreomlettesinyourfuture.
Drink more water
A good rule of thumb for daily water intake is 4-6 cups for the average healthy person. Try to fill a water bottle in the morning and work on drinking it all during the day. (9).
Don’t let this information overwhelm you and don’t try to accomplish all of these healthy things at once! Try to pick one and work on it, make it a habit, and then start on a different one.
And starting could be something as simple as drinking one more glass of water, one more baby carrot, or a 15 minute walk.
Technology is so great these days and there are so many apps out there to help you live a healthier life. Here are a few:
My Fitness Pal – I love this app. It helps you track your calories. It makes it easy because it has an enormous library.
Map My Run – This is a great app if you like to walk or run for exercise. It will track your distance and how many calories you’ve burned. Sync it up with your Fitness Pal in order to subtract the calories you’ve burned.