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Embracing an active lifestyle that leaves behind the comforts of the couch can be a difficult adjustment. But the payoffs of adopting a more active lifestyle are numerous. In addition to feeling better physically, men and women who embrace more physical activity typically notice improvements in their mood as well.
The positive mental effects related to physical activity are no accident, as numerous studies have shown exercise can stimulate chemicals in your brain that improve your mood while also lowering stress and helping you relax. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aerobic exercise or a mix of aerobic exercise and strength-training activities three to five times a week for 30 to 60 minutes has been shown to improve cognitive ability and judgement, reduce a person's risk of developing depression and improve sleep.
The numerous positive effects of physical activity illustrate just how beneficial such a lifestyle can be. Even better, embracing an active lifestyle does not mean you have to start planning that expedition to climb Mount Everest or start training for the triathlon. In fact, a few minor adjustments to your current routine might be all it takes to reap the rewards of living a more active lifestyle.
Walk This Way
Walking more can help many people quickly and easily improve their physical and mental condition. Instead of retiring to the couch after dinner, take a walk around the neighborhood with your family or significant other. Or go it alone and use your nightly walk as a peaceful opportunity to collect your thoughts. Walking after dinner is a great way to get in some daily cardiovascular exercise, and a post-dinner walk might encourage you to eat less.
Walking can be incorporated into your daily routine in other ways as well. On shopping trips, park further away from the store so you can walk more. And walk kids to school or the bus stop instead of dropping them off in your car.
Do Your Own Chores
It might be easier to cut your landscaper a check and let him look after your property, but that big green yard outside your front door presents a great opportunity for you to be more physically active. Mow your own lawn, choosing a push mower instead of a ride-on mower, and tend to your trees, shrubs and flowers yourself. This is a great way to be more physically active, and the physical and mental rewards might just be outdone by the pride you feel when seeing a beautiful landscape you tended to yourself.
Embrace a Cause
If the known physical and mental benefits of an active lifestyle are not proving to be ample motivation in your quest to be more physically active, then perhaps the opportunity to help others might do the trick. Numerous charities sponsor charity walks or runs that provide participants with an opportunity to raise money for a good cause. Even better, such events tend to take all comers, so you might be able to enlist your friends, family members or coworkers to join you. Signing up for a 10K might be just the motivation you need to get out and start training. And once the training begins, chances are you won't want to stop even after the charity event has come and gone.
Join a Sports League
Many men and women played in recreational sports leagues as a youth or young adult. Unfortunately, it's easy to abandon those recreational activities when the responsibilities of work and family take over. But joining a sports league is a great way to reach your weekly exercise goals, meet new friends and reconnect with a game you might have loved as a child. Many people find it's easier to embrace a more active lifestyle when they enjoy their physical activities, so find a sport you enjoy playing and then start playing it more.
Getting off the couch and embracing an active lifestyle has both physical and mental benefits that can improve all aspects of daily life.