How Exercise Makes You Happy
Exercising should be fun and invigorating, something that is easy to adopt as a lifestyle. Getting exercise, moving our bodies and breathing fresh air should be something our bodies naturally crave. Here you will learn how exercise makes you happy.
It can be hard to get moving if your lower back aches or your joints creak and pop with every step, but low impact exercises are a healthy choice at any age and there are plenty of fun options and creative twists. Here are some exercises that will make you happy.
Walking is the most basic low impact activity there is and you can jazz it up by joining friends, taking in new sights, or combining it with a lunchtime picnic or scenic morning coffee spot. Mike Duffy, a software architect in Sebastopol, California joins his co-workers for a half hour stroll at lunch time. You can also schedule walks to take in guided tours of local architecture, outdoor sculptures, or museums.
Hiking does not need to be a strenuous, overnight experience in the wilderness. Break in a new pair of hiking boots, buy some cozy socks and enjoy some early morning hikes in a nearby basin or ravine, or conquer a local hill. Take a camera and capture the sights and sunrises.
In Santa Rosa, California enologist, Mark Cave, takes his dog Cooper on weekend hikes into the hills surrounding the Napa Valley. Retired musician Mitch Marcus takes advantage of Arizona’s seasonal monsoons to enjoy over two dozen Tucson area trails with waterfalls.
Weight lifting strengthens bones and counteracts the effect of osteoporosis, but it can also be a powerful force for losing weight and shaping your body. Napa wine enologist Linda Baehr prefers weight lifting to keep her limber and in shape both on and off the job.
She is not alone. Actor Mark Wahlberg is also known for his intensive weight lifting sessions and his aversion to running.
If you are just starting out, begin slowly with lower weights and more repetitions. As you become accustomed to lighter weights you can slowly increase the weight and do fewer reps. Move slowly and correctly, do not jerk or pop the movements so you get the proper effect and do not injure yourself.
Swimming and Water Exercise
Swimming and water exercise are very low impact, yet also surprisingly effective. On the one hand, water supports your limbs and core, which makes exercising feel both weightless and effortless, but at the same time, water provides resistance against every movement. So for instance, if you are doing leg lifts your legs will get a workout on the way up and the way down. This makes every degree of movement, vertical, horizontal, or circular, very effective.
If you are out of shape, water exercise is a very good way to start building some basic muscle tissue. You might be quite surprised at how much you feel it the next day.
Yoga, tai chi and other classes are an excellent way to increase flexibility and build muscle tone. Do not try to become a pretzel. Ease into poses and let them challenge you until you feel a good stretch or a healthy level of resistance in your muscles. If you want to improve quickly at yoga, you should also do the exercises and poses every day at home, not just once or twice a week in class.
Doing gardening and yard work may seem cliché, but it is a great reason to get outdoors, breathe fresh air and engage in a worthwhile activity. If you have a green thumb, you may be able to grow enough food to contribute substantially to your own larder and still have enough left over for neighborhood gifts or donations to your local food bank.
If you do not have space for a garden, consider volunteering for an urban farm or CSA (community-supported agriculture).
Biking can be a relaxing and low impact way to get outdoors as well. You do not need a $1200 bike or tight Spandex to enjoy a neighborhood cruise. If you invest in a bike basket and some panniers (saddlebags) you can jaunt in style to your local stores and cafes.
If the weather is not conducive to outdoor riding, an indoor spin cycle can give you a versatile workout.
If you are the expressive type, you can always try dancing. Modern jazz and zumba are both aerobic and a full body workout, while belly dancing is great for your abs and arms.
Now You Know How Exercise Makes You Happy
We hope you found these exercises insightful and inspirational. We also wish you the best success in finding happiness in old age. Whether it be swimming, yoga or running, we hope one of these activities bring you joy.