Get Out! (Take a Walk)

By Wellness Correspondent Abigail Royce

Get Out! (Take a Walk)

Between the relentless news of our faltering economy, political distrust and the ever-rising cost of living, it may be hard to find things to feel good about that won’t leave a gaping hole in your wallet. However, there is one thing you can do everyday that won’t cost you a dime, and is nearly guaranteed to improve your quality of life: Exercise.
As a personal trainer and wellness coach, I have seen clients overcome powerful psychological issues (or at very least, approach them with a clearer mind) through the benefits of exercise. Sure, it sounds really simple. Yet you might be surprised to hear that more than two-thirds of all Americans skip out on any form of regular exercise. Here in Hawai'i, it's hard to fathom; we're surrounded by perfect conditions for walking, jogging, swimming–you name it–all year round. But even in paradise, with the grind of work looming over us, it's not hard to slip in to a pattern.

When I’m feeling blue or stressed out, I know that if I can just get outside for 15 minutes of fresh air, my perspective will be positively influenced. If you take away anything from this piece, it would be this sentiment. I’ve never had anyone tell me they feel worse after a quick exercise break! Whether it's before or after work, or even a 15-minute stroll after your lunch, the benefits are endless.

Of course, we know that working out on a regular basis can make you look and feel more attractive over time. Yet what I find so often overlooked are the immediate effects. Your brain actually releases chemicals (like seratonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and endorphins) during exercise that make you feel good. Did you know that each of these chemicals are known to reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and depression? The workouts most likely to induce the euphoria enhancing beta-endorphins, commonly referred to as the “runners high”, include; running, swimming, long distance rowing, bicycling, weight lifting, aerobics, or sports like basketball, soccer or football and, of course, surfing.

To up the feel good ante, I recommend exercise with a friend. Not only will a good exercise partner lessen your odds on skipping a workout, but it will also give you a chance to connect with others and hopefully share some laughs– another extremely powerful stress busters.

So next time the news gets you down, turn off the computer or T.V., and get the body moving. It won’t change the world, but it can certainly help how you feel about it!