So it’s only Monday and I’m already exhausted! What gives? Unfortunately, we can’t greet all Mondays refreshed and full of energy (I mean, I have teenagers after all!) Its days like today that I really have to dig deep to get my workout done. I’m exhausted, stressed, a little depressed (from all the lack of sleep and stress) and the thing that sounds least appealing right now is actually moving my body in a meaningful manner. It’s days like this that I need to get myself up, brush myself off and remember why a workout will only makes things better. There are lots of reasons to exercise besides the obvious, more superficial reasons, here are just a few.

Improves mood and reduces stress.

“Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.

Exercise increases brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. All of these amazing chemicals help reduce stress, slow aging and just make us feel good.

It improves learning.

Like your muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow. Doing exercises that require you to think or use your coordination exercises your brain.

It builds self-esteem and improves body image.

You don’t need to radically change your body shape to get a confidence surge from exercise. Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

It leaves you feeling euphoric.

Yes, that “runner’s high” really does exist if you’re willing to shift into high-intensity mode. Go for a run, swim or jump on your favorite piece of cardio equipment and up the intensity and you’ll up your mood for sure.

 I don’t know about you, but I’m getting up and exercising right now!

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