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In today’s  world, especially in America, we are faced with the challenge of running out of time. When we are short on time the thing that we tend to push a side is exercise. We work, we eat, we sleep. This isn’t on purpose, but Americans would rather work, spend time with their families, and then want to go to bed at a reasonable time . However, what most Americans don’t realize is that exercise is something that can be fit into a busy day. Very worth it! Finding time for small workouts throughout the day benefits to a strong and healthy lifestyle.

When thinking about working out people usually think about losing weight for the good-looking feature, others are required to work out for medical purposes such as reducing blood pressure, acheive a healthier BMI (Body Mass Index), and lower risk of certain diseases.  The Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management from the University of Tennessee preformed a study on postmenopausal women using a predesigned walking program found it “…is clinically important in that it translates into lower risks for cardiovascular disease and stroke that reported that walking activity clinically improved blood pressure and lowered the risks for cardiovascular disease and stroke.” If a simple walking program can show that it can effect blood pressure, amongst decreasing other health risks, then it shows just taking a few extra steps everyday can help in the long run. We often think for this we need to go to the gym 4–5 times a week  or run from Salt Lake–Sandy. There are a variety of workouts that vary with the amount of time it takes to get through a routine which can make it intimidating for most. Although working out is intimidating it can still be fit into the day while being fun.

Some people would say they are to busy to exercise.  In Fitness Together of Cleveland’s ‘Ten Exercise Excuses’  list, K.C. Wilder, PhD and sports psychologist, says “It’s just a matter of setting priorities.” When trying to fit in a good work out people seldom know that any form of exercise is a stress reliever (Lentz). Fitting small workouts throughout the day can go a long way towards stress management (Lentz). Some people can’t make it to the gym, but even if you walk up the stairs or park farther away it increases your overall health and your sense of well being (Mayo Clinic).  As funny as the line is from Legally Blonde , Elle was right in saying “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy,” and when the brain releases endorphins a person can feel a sort of “work-out high.” Finishing a work out or even just another exercise during the day helps give a feeling of accomplishment.  This can help improve a persons mood, reducing stress and anxiety.

Not only does exercise throughout the day help your health by relieving stress, but it also helps improve your sleep habits.  In a guideline published by The National Sleep Foundation, exercising regularly can help lead to a better nights sleep. It’s recommended that most adults get between 7 1/2-9 hours of sleep a night, with an emphasis for the body to be allowed to enter each stage of sleep as needed.  There are 3 stages of NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement) the body goes through before entering REM sleep, with the most restful sleep coming from Stage 3 of NREM and REM sleep.  As stated by Dr. David C. Nieman, professor and director of the Human Performance Laboratoy-Appalachian State University, “…scientists have shown that people who exercise regularly do indeed spend more time in slow-wave sleep.”  Slow wave sleep are the later stages of NREM.  Although some feel that exercise does not have as much of an impact on improved sleep habits, such as Arn Eliasson, MD.  Dr. Eliasson has suggested that regular exercise doesn’t increase sleep, sleep might actually be dependent on a person’s individual personality.  Type A personalities tend to be more active during the day may also be more active at night, resulting in less sleep. Where Type B personalities are more mellow, allowing them to sleep more easily. Dr. Nieman claimed “…exercising and sweating close to bedtime can have an adverse effect on sleep quality for both fit and sedentary subjects.” There is however more scientific support of exercise being a factor into increase quality and quantity of sleep. As found by Dr. Nieman, Stanford University conducted a study that found it’s subjects on a regular low-impact aerobic exercise regimen experienced longer, better sleep with less trouble falling asleep.

While helping decrease a person’s medical risks and improving sleep habits, exercise has also been shown to improve how our brain’s function overall. Henriette van Praag of the Neuroplasticity and Behavior Unit of the National Institutes of Health, stated, “An active lifestyle might prevent or delay loss of cognitive function with aging or neurodegenerative disease.”  As a persons age increases, their brain mass decreases which affects memory among other brain functions.  Research has found that older people, living a more active lifestyle have larger brains and better memory.  Along with just simply walking more in older age helps keep a brain healthier, Art Kramer and Laura Chaddock of the University of Illinois published “Brain Research” which found “nine and 10 year olds who were more physically fit than their peers had a larger hippocampi, the structure of the brain related to learning and memory.”  According to C. Hillman, K. Erickson, and A. Kramer from Science and Society found physical activity has lead to improvement in academics.  While some people may feel that exercising will use up energy, making a person more lethargic and less able to concentrate and absorb information, researchers have found that exercise “increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn.”  The more complicated the physical activity the bigger boost your brain will get.

All this may be overwhelming to someone who is just learning about the benefits of exercise.  Some might say that this information is all argumentative and they could be right however, the only way to know is to try it for yourself. As I stated in my instructions page it is easy to incorporate small work outs such as walking up the stairs or chair dips, or anything that gets your blood pumping.  You don’t have to think about working out 100% of the day, just enough so that you can burn some calories with everyday activities.  Several mini-workouts during the day can be as effective as one big workouts (Scott).  If you’ve encountered a long work day, smaller work outs dispersed through the day can actually help reinvigorate you and your brain while setting you up for a better nights rest. It is a great stress reliever, which is also a medical benefit as it lowers blood pressure while helping reduce the chance of other health risks such as heart disease and diabetes. So get to work and try this out and see if all  of these benefits lead you to a healthier lifestyle and a happier you.

Cites:

Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management, University of Tennessee, TN. Kerrie L. Moreau, Rachel Degarmo, Jason Langley, Colleen Mcmahon, Edward T. Howley, David R. Bassett Jr., Dixie L. Thompson. ” Increasing daily walking lowers blood pressure in postmenopausal women.” The American College of Sports Medicine. copyright Sept 2001. Web. 5, Aug 2013.

Fitness Together of Cleveland. “Ten exercise excuses and how you can overcome them.” http://www.FTOHIO.com Web. 5, Aug 2013

Lentz, Cori Ann. “Exercise for stress relief.” Pleasanton. 16, Sept 2011. Web 5, Aug 2013.

Nieman, David C. “Can exercise help me sleep better?” You asked for it Question Authority. Jun 2005. Web. 5, Aug 2013.

“Study Finds Regular Daily Exercise Does Not Increase Total Sleep Time.” AASM. American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 08 June 2009. Web. 11 Aug. 2013.

“Healthy Sleep Tips.” Sleeping Tips & Tricks. National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2013.

Van Praaf, Henriette. “Exercise and the Brain: Something to Chew on.” US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health, 06 Apr. 2009. Web. 11 Aug. 2013.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Exercise and Stress: Get moving to manage stress.” Mayo Medical Clinic. Web. 5, Aug 2013

Cort, Danielle. “Does Exercise Improve Brain Function?” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 05 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Aug. 2013.

Science and Society, Charles H. Hillman, Kirk I. Erickson, Author F. Kramer. “Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition.” Jan 2008. Web. 5, Aug 2013

Scott, Elizabeth. “Get more energy: Get more out of your day.” About.com review by the Medical Review Board. 20, Mar 2012.  5 Aug. 2013.

 

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