Today after I taught the Monday morning water exercise class, one of the women who has only been coming for a month or so came up to me and commented, “Today I finally felt what you’ve been talking about. I do feel better after we do our intervals.”
She expressed what many people haven’t stayed around long enough to feel. Regular, consistent cardiovascular exercise elevates the mood and increases the feel-good hormones circulating throughout the body. If you are not already part of this “feel-good therapy” I urge you to find a means and stick with it until you do. It won’t happen the first few times you go out and hit the pavement–new exercisers are bound to be stiff, sore and awkward. But stick with it. Do it every other day. Practice at your own level. Keep yourself motivated by positive talk- if you don’t cheer yourself on, who will?
I have a whole collection of slogans I use to urge myself to get going and put in more effort. Develop your own cheers, and say them loud and strong. I guarantee, before you know it, the endorphins will start to flow and you will be among those who know how great it feels to be in good health. It takes a little extra effort. It takes consistency, but it will happen. It is a physiological process. Extra exertion produces extra positive chemicals, particularly anadamide, the so-called “bliss” molecule. The harder you work out, the more you experience the “runner’s high” (it works for swimmers, cyclers, dancers, and any other cardiovascular challenge), a feeling of positive gain, inner harmony, boundless energy and reduction of pain.
There are hundreds of neurochemicals in the brain, but of particular interest are those that affect your mood positively to produce bliss, and those that help diminish anxiety. An exercise-induced, altered state of consciousness can be yours; don’t let the world-class athletes be the only ones to benefit from the positive neurochemicals. Get out there and get yours. Pedal your bike till your legs turn to noodles. Walk till you feel the sweat and the endorphins take over. Swim till you feel no pain. You can do it, the harder you work the more energy you will produce to repeat the experience. If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.