Ok I know this one is important so will get it done early. Exercise. I have never read anywhere about exercise being bad for you. Our bodies are meant to move and if they do, they respond well. But what about our minds? Will physical movement result in a happier me?
According to a Gallup study, aside from the physical health benefits that can be achieved through exercise, people who exercised even two times per week reported feeling less stressed and happier than those who did not exercise. The levels of happiness increased when the number of exercise days increased.
We have heard many times that exercise decreases the level of cortisol (our stress and feel bad hormones) but increases the level of endorphins (our feel good hormones). I know myself when my kids are a bit ratty and I’m feeling unsettled or agitated, packing us all up for a walk to the park is the perfect remedy. Even a quick 30 minute park play in the fresh air enhances our moods dramatically.
I enjoy exercise (when I’m doing it) and yes I do have a gym membership, but exercise and I have had a rocky relationship. Sometimes we court like lovers, sometimes we are definitely on non-speaking terms. I have never been one to participate in what I call structured exercise. Team sports, swimming squads, running groups have never interested me. Yoga highlights my lack of flexibility and balance and group fitness classes are just not my cup of tea. I love to walk and I do play social tennis once a week, but that’s about it.
So after thinking long and hard about exactly how I would include exercise as part of my happiness project, I have decided to start jogging. Runners talk about the ‘runners zen’. They run and their minds are filled with thoughts and feelings of peace, invincibility and happiness. Sounds good to me, I’ll try it.
I have downloaded an app for my iphone promising that if I follow the rules I will go from the sofa to running 5 kilometres (without stopping). Excellent! I have also created a playlist with motivational music to help me get and stay on course. All I need to do is put my joggers on and hit the road.
This should be very interesting.