What image comes to mind when you think about self-care? A day at the spa? A bubble bath? A good book and a glass of wine?
How about a sweaty workout? No?!
It does for Carrie!
For Carrie, exercise is self-care. That’s because regular workouts contribute to her overall sense of health and well-being, and give her the energy and strength to be a full-time musician and mom to two young boys. “I’d love to sit in a bubble bath, but that’s not going to happen,” said Carrie in a recent interview. “My self-care is my gym time, and that’s a stress reliever for me.”
We often associate exercise with weight loss and general fitness, but it can be the best kind of self-care, too. The kind that gives you what no spa day ever can: long-lasting wellness benefits that’ll make your life better day in and day out.
Here are four reasons to start including regular workouts in your self-care routine.
Regular Exercise Reduces Stress
Exercise produces endorphins in the body — feel-good chemicals that ease pain and trigger positive feelings. Even just a few minutes of activity per day can reduce your stress levels and give your body and mind some relief.
Working out Boosts Your Energy and Productivity
When you’re exhausted, the last thing you might feel like doing is putting on your workout gear and getting your sweat on. But exercising actually boosts your energy for the rest of the day, which, in turn, can increase your productivity. So rather than resting when you’re tired, consider a short workout instead.
Moving Your Body Increases Your Mental Clarity
The science is clear: when you move your body, you increase blood flow and oxygen to your brain, which literally helps you to think more clearly. Working out also lights up the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. So be sure to do your workout before you sit down to study or write that report.
A Fitness Routine Helps You Sleep Better
It makes sense that exerting yourself physically during the day helps you to fall asleep faster, sleep more soundly and stay asleep longer at night. And it’s true! Get all that extra energy out, and you might find yourself less likely to hit the snooze button in the mornings!
Of course, that’s not to say you won’t deserve a cat nap after your workout. But chances are, with all that extra energy and mental clarity, you really won’t need one!