On Tuesday, I explained how intermittent exercise just doesn’t work. Rather, consistency is the key—not only for your heart health, but for your overall sense of well-being, too.
In fact, new research reveals how even the most mundane activities could make a world of difference…
Everyday activity engages your brain
German researchers looked at the impact of everyday activities—like climbing the stairs or walking instead of driving—on the mental health of 67 subjects over the course of a week.
They measured activity levels through movement sensors and surveys. And they found that subjects felt more alert and had greater energy—both critical aspects of mental well–being—directly following physical activity.
This isn’t surprising. But what makes this study interesting is that researchers also assessed brain volume using MRI to see which areas of the brain were engaged by these everyday activities.
And they found that a specific section of the cerebral cortex, which regulates emotions and resists mental illness, seemed to mediate the connection between physical activity and mental health.
Notably, people with smaller brain volume in this region were more susceptible to psychiatric disorders. But they also suffered the most, mentally, from a sedentary lifestyle.
Another reason to take the stairs
This isn’t the first time research has shown that simple activities can ease the burden on your mental health.
In fact, you might recall the study I shared back in August, which showed that people who engaged in 45 minutes of vigorous exercise daily—or alternatively, 108 minutes of light physical activity daily—were far less likely to struggle with negative emotions at the peak of the pandemic.
Sure, that may sound like a large dose of exercise each day. But when your light physical activity can include walking, doing housework, or gardening—really, anything but sitting—108 minutes of physical activity doesn’t seem so hard to achieve. Plus, there are plenty of simple, effective routines you can adopt from the comfort of your own home to help keep yourself moving, even during social isolation.
The bottom line? Just like you don’t need to backpack in the wilderness to reap the benefits of being outside, you don’t have to be a gym rat to gain a mental boost from exercise, either. (Not to mention, the gym isn’t necessarily the safest place to work out anyway.)
In other words… find simple ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily life—like taking the stairs. And just keep doing it, every day.
P.S. For additional ways to safely and effectively combat stress and anxiety—without turning to dangerous drugs—check out the June 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“A safer way to boost your mood and protect your mental health”). Subscribers have access to that and all of my past content in the archives. So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. Click here now!
“Everyday activities enhance personal well-being.” Science Daily, 11/25/2020. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/11/201125104348.htm)