This is a Guest Post written by Tanya Thurnau.
I’m going to get straight to the point here – no hints, beating around the bush, or subtleties, because I believe this is really important. I’ve noticed as a fitness professional working with women, one of our most natural instincts is to take care of others. We work hard to make sure that everyone else around us is happy, comfy, and provided for. It’s a lovely instinct to have, but we often end up putting ourselves on the back burner. This ultimately leaves us tired, cranky, emotionally and energetically drained, and with little or no time left for ourselves. Additionally, society creates this image that if we do take some time to focus on ourselves we aren’t doing our “job” – we’re neglecting our family/friends/co-workers/responsibilities, etc. Hello guilt trip, right?! It’s time to start making yourself a priority without the fear that you’re going to be judged as a bad parent, wife, daughter, friend, co-worker, etc. In reality, scheduling priority time for ourselves to workout actually makes us better women for all those we love and enjoy caring for! Here are 5 reasons why:
1. We have more energy: We’re often tired and lack energy due to the quality, quantity, and balance of our nutrition as well as a weak cardiovascular system. When we take the time to prepare and consume clean, healthy food our bodies are better able to use that food for fuel. This is because clean, healthy food serves a purpose in the body, so instead of being stored as fat or passed through the body, it gets put to good use. This is especially true when we add exercise. Exercise increases the cardiovascular system which allows for better circulation of blood which carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. All of this equals more steady and increased energy throughout the day.
2. We have less stress: When schedules get busy and life gets chaotic, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and become stressed. It’s important to have some kind of healthy outlet for that stress. If we don’t, it can often end up being taken out on those we care about through our attitude, words, or actions, which completely takes the joy and purpose out of caring for others. Taking some time to workout can help release stress and tension from the day, but it also releases chemicals in the brain that help you feel more relaxed. Working out is one of the best stress coping techniques available.
3. We get better quality sleep: Are you struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, or get up in the morning? Most women I know aren’t getting a full night of quality sleep. They’re lucky if they get in 6 hours. In order for our bodies to function at their potential, 7-9 hours of quality sleep is really a critical component. It’s also important to note that we need to reach deep REM sleep. Regular exercise can help us fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, reach that level of REM sleep, and get up feeling more refreshed and energized. Additionally, quality sleep helps decrease fatigue, improve our mood and the function of our immune system, increase mental clarity and focus, and help us recover more fully and quickly from our workouts.
4. We have more physically fit bodies: When we’re physically fit, our bodies are leaner and lighter, our muscles are stronger, our metabolisms rev higher more consistently, and our hearts circulate blood and oxygen through our bodies more efficiently. This means higher self-esteem and confidence and more endurance to keep up with the tasks of our day. This then leads to the ability to get more done at work, keep up with our children, and have a healthier physical relationship with our significant other. Additionally, a more physically fit body helps manage or prevent lots of health conditions and problems like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, depression, metabolic issues, and cancers just to name a few. Most importantly, though, we’re setting a great example of health for our families and children that will hopefully carry over into future generations!
5. We become generally more happy: When we workout, we release the happy hormone in our brains called endorphins. Endorphins rock because they can literally change our mood from bad to good. And when we’re happier, we tend to rub that feeling off onto those we connect with and encounter throughout the day. You never know how many other people and families you may end up affecting for the better through your good mood – all because you squeezed in a short workout.
If you’re already making a workout a priority, way to go! You’re probably already experiencing all the benefits above and much, much more. If you haven’t yet, I hope these 5 reasons help you realize how much one short workout can affect every facet of your life and body and all the people you love and enjoy caring for and about.