Spring Into Exercise

By Amy Brightman, LCSW

With the weather getting nicer, it's a perfect time to start getting some more exercise in your daily schedule. But, how do you find the time and what is your motivation?

Many of us have hectic schedules—balancing home, work, fun, self-care, and any of the other numerous appointments that fill up our day. When fitting exercise into our schedule means sacrificing precious time to sleep or relax, it is difficult to maintain a regimen. I do my best to wake up at least twice a week to go for a run before work, but there are some mornings it feels completely impossible to peel myself out of bed. Here are some simple ways to incorporate more exercise into your day:

  1. Get off the subway or bus a stop early to walk more.
  2. Take the stairs.
  3. Do strength exercises and stretching when watching television.

When feeling over-scheduled, tired, and stressed, exercise can be the last thing you want to do. Getting motivated and not letting your mood get in the way can make the difference. I often suggest exercise to clients who struggle with anxiety and depression given its psychological benefits. Feel free to “chime” in with any other suggestions:

  1. Increased Confidence: Working out helps you lose weight and feel good about your body. When you know you’re taking care of yourself, you feel good about it. When you complete your run or do an extra rep of weights, you recognize progress and know it’s from your own hard work.
     
  2. Happy Chemicals: Exercise releases the “feel good” chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. 
     
  3. Immune System Benefits: Exercise benefits your body in many ways. It helps blood and oxygen circulate throughout your body, it improves your endurance and strength, and it helps produce cells that combat bacteria in the body.
     
  4. Meditation: Many people find calming effects from working out, describing it as a form of meditation when they are free of thoughts.
     
  5. Increased Energy: Working out boosts your energy level. The physical benefits and feeling good about yourself also help provide a pep in your step. Also, getting energy out during the day helps you feel ready for sleep at night. Remember not to exercise too close to bedtime as it may be activating. 

Whether you’re new to working out or looking for inspiration to maintain your regimen, I hope these suggestions and motivators help you spring into exercise this May.

Amy Brightman is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy.  If you are looking for support in finding solutions to enhance your overall wellness, visit cobbpsychotherapy.com to see how therapy can help.