Now that 2022 is here we’ve all got plenty of goals and hope for a better year!
When you know why you want to accomplish something in the first place it bolsters you to keep on track and to succeed. So, if you’ve set a goal to get in better shape, start exercising, or to make exercise more of a priority, isn’t it great to know that not only will it strengthen your body, it will benefit your brain, promote healthy sleep, increase your energy and improve your mood? Plus, it can be a lot of fun!
Enhance Your Brain
Harvard researchers have uncovered the role of irisin, a protein released from your muscles when you exercise. Irisin may be the reason exercise plays an important role in burning fat, strengthening bones, and protecting against neurodegenerative disease.
Researchers discovered that in mice, the protein’s tiny molecules can pass through the blood-brain barrier. When they enter the brain, they help protect and even regrow nerve connections. This may be one reason why exercise keeps your memory sharp.
They also discovered that even without exercise, irisin is present in nimble brains, but in short supply in people with Alzheimer’s.
To avoid cognition problems, try this five-part plan:
Manage stress by meditating, praying and finding other enjoyable ways to decompress.
Put your sleep first: try to get between 7-10 hours per night.
Eat non-inflammatory foods: skip added sugars, red/processed meat and egg yolks.
Play speed-of-processing games that enhance concentration, like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess, and jigsaw puzzles.
Upgrade Your Sleep
Do you struggle to get those zzz’s? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, and get better quality and deeper sleep. Be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime or you may be too buzzed to fall asleep.
Amplify Your Energy
Have you been feeling sluggish lately? Exercise sends nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lung health improve, you’ll have more energy to dive into your daily chores with gusto.
Elevate Your Mood
Feeling down, or stressed after a busy day? A brisk walk or gym session can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.
Exercise can also help you feel better about yourself, and your appearance. Regular exercise boosts your confidence and improves your self-esteem.
Intensify Your Fun
Besides all the other benefits, exercise and physical activity are satisfying and enjoyable! You get the chance to get outside and appreciate nature, to unwind, master a skill and do something you love. Physical activity can also help you connect with your friends and family in a fun setting - what's better than that?
Have you always wanted to take a dance class, explore some new hiking trails, try rock climbing, or join a volleyball team? Just do it: now is your chance to get out and do something you’re interested in and add to your vitality at the same time!
For most healthy adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:
Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. The guidelines suggest that you spread out your exercise during the course of a week. To provide even greater health benefits and assist with weight-loss, or weight-loss maintenance, they recommend at least 300 minutes per week. Remember that being active for short periods of time throughout the day can really add up to provide a health benefit.
Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12-15 repetitions.
Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, heavy yard work and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include using weight machines, your own body weight, heavy bags, resistance tubing or resistance paddles in the water, or rock climbing.
As you move into 2022, be encouraged that you CAN change your body, your brain and so many major aspects of your life!
James Clear, author of the bestselling book Atomic Habits, says this:
“Every action we take is a vote for the person we want to become.”
Let’s make exercise our habit to become stronger, healthier and more resilient this year!
I’d love to work with you to help you get on track with your exercise routine, or to help you create one. You can call me at 720-320-4212, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Here’s to your best health!
Dr. Trish PT, DPT