Exercise Your Way to a New You
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t ” These were the ditzy (yet wise) words of Reese Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde when explaining why she believed a client her law firm was representing was innocent. I use this quote often when explaining endorphins, much to Keith’s amusement. Without fail, he always adds to what would have otherwise been a persuasive argument on why exercise is important, “She learned that from Legally Blonde.” Thanks, babe.
Endorphins truly are powerful allies to our bodies; they’re natural pain and stress fighters. Chemically, they are much like morphine or codeine, however, in this case addiction is a good thing. The release of endorphins can change our mood instantly…and always for the better.
In addition to a change in mood, some scientists believe endorphins make our immune system stronger, lower blood pressure and slow down our body’s aging process. Maybe this explains why all the couples I’ve interviewed around the world, happily married 25-plus years, look as though they’ve been drinking from a fountain of youth for at least a decade.
Belly laughter for 10 minutes, a healthy sex life, spending time in the sun, and eating chocolate or spicy foods (e.g. chili peppers) are all triggers of endorphins. But the most potent trigger is exercise. Many years ago, I remember being incredibly stressed as an event productions manager. I was working 12-hour days, 6 days a week and found myself a bit snippy with people (which, by the way, is an understatement) and my back was in an enormous amount of pain.
I mentioned this to my colleague hoping to gain sympathy and instead was offered something different. ”When was the last time you exercised?” she asked. At first, I was offended she seemed to be minimizing my expressed challenges. And then I began looking into how exercise works with our bodies and why it’s so important.
Today, we’re on Day 3 of our 21 Days to a Happier You series and it’s the second-to-last article dedicated to health and fitness. I began the series with this important component because so much of our happiness is controlled not only by how we look but how we feel. Poor eating and exercise habits can wreak havoc on our happiness. If you can’t sleep at night, aren’t productive during the day, your patience is nil or all of the above, it may be time to look not only at what’s going on externally but what is happening internally.
As we discussed yesterday, any proven diet works. No really. It’s consistency -or rather the lack thereof- that causes diets to fail. The same is the case with exercise. You don’t need to spend money on a gym membership or a personal trainer. The most effective exercises are jumping jacks and push-ups and both can be done for free. You can go on YouTube and find thousands of great fitness videos at no cost.
Exercising isn’t about fitting into a size 2 dress. It’s not about being skinny. Our bodies were created to be active and our sedentary lives -which oftentimes involve sitting at a computer several hours a day- are compromising our bodies and our overall happiness. Get those endorphins flowing daily and see if you don’t feel an immediate uptick in your mood. How you’ll look in the mirror will just be an added bonus.
If the way you look or feel physically is holding you back from creating the life you most desire to live, join me tomorrow as we wrap up the health and fitness portion of this 21-day series. I promise, you’ll be glad you did.
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!