Regular exercise has multifold benefits. It helps improve our mood, gives us energy, decreases our risk for serious health conditions, and improves our body’s ability to fight common viruses by improving your immunity. Even a small amount of exercise daily can benefit our mind and body. Getting started can be difficult so here are some ways to inspire you and help you make intentional choices to integrate exercise as a daily part of your life.

Physical and Emotional Benefits of Exercise

1. Improves health and reduces risk of developing several diseases: Regular physical activity may reduce your risk of a heart attack, lower blood cholesterol level, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and arthritis.

2. Promotes better sleep: Routine exercise, particularly in the morning or afternoon, can improve your quality of sleep at night and in turn, your overall health. If you have had difficulty sleeping, regular physical activity can help you help you fall asleep faster and achieve deeper sleep. 

3. Improves mood and reduces stress: Regular exercise stimulates endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that enhances your sense of well-being and leaves you feeling happier and more relaxed.

4. Boosts energy and increases confidence: Exercise improves your muscle strength, delivers oxygen and other nutrients to your body, and helps your cardiovascular system work efficiently. This helps you have more energy for your daily activities. Additionally, setting small, achievable goals for exercise helps build a sense of accomplishment. Moreover, regular physical activity can help prevent excess weight gain or maintain weight loss by increasing your metabolism.

Tips to Increase Motivation and Physical Activity

1. Make a commitment: “There’s no time to exercise” is a common obstacle we often experience. Start by scheduling at least 10 minutes a day on your calendar for physical activity. Set small, specific, achievable goals for yourself. Increase this time once you are able to commit to the 10 minutes for a few weeks. Taking a class or scheduling a workout time with a friend can motivate you to stick with the plan.

2. Make it fun: It is important that you find ways to enjoy exercise that fits your routine and personality. Check out the Rec Center to see if they offer group or online workout classes. Create a workout/walk playlist for yourself. Keep it interesting by trying something different on alternate days.

3. Make it social: Finding a workout partner can help you stay committed. Having someone who keeps you accountable also makes it harder to cancel your plans last minute. This can help make it more enjoyable.

4. Mix it up: It might help to engage in a variety of activities so that you do not lose interest. It will also help you work out different muscle groups. Here are a variety of activities to consider:

· Walk, jog, cycle, or skate
·  Swim or do water aerobics
·
Take a class in yoga, dance, aerobics
·
Kayak, canoe
· Play tennis, racket ball, or squash
· Play basketball, soccer, or softball
· Hand cycle or participate in wheelchair sports
· Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way
· Replace a coffee break with a 10-min brisk walk
· Do stretches or floor exercises while watching TV
· Take a nature walk, visit a nearby wildlife sanctuary
· Spend time gardening, mowing the lawn

5. Don’t overdo it: Start slow and keep it consistent. Exercising excessively can overtax your system. Make sure you drink plenty of water, and eat a balanced meal.

Watch these videos to learn more about the importance of exercise:
The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise
Why We Quit Our Exercise Plans and What We Can Do About It
How Exercise Makes you Smarter and a Better Student 

Sources:
http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/resources/self-care-starter-kit/self-care-assessments-exercises/exercises-and-activities.html
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health-safety-wellness/counseling/self_care/exercise
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495