SiSU Health Challenge
Week 3: Ways to incorporate exercise into a busy schedule.
Welcome back to Week 3 of the SiSU Health Challenge. Altering your daily schedule to incorporate exercise can be onerous to some. A change in perspective can turn a once dreaded activity into a fun and easy activity that your body and mind will thank you for. Give these tips a try this week and see how many extra steps you can add to your daily count.
Incorporating exercise into a busy schedule.
Keeping up an exercise routine when your busy can be a difficult task, a lot of the time, personal exercise is one of the first activities to be cancelled from your schedule when your workload increases. But, cancelling may not be the best thing for your mental health when you’re under the pump. Studies show that exercise is beneficial for improving mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function (Callaghan, 2004). This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.
How exercise reduces stress:
- It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity boosts the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. A game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same euphoric feeling.
- It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations as you have only concentrated on your body’s movements. When you begin to release your daily tensions through movement and physical activity regularly, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
- It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase your self-confidence, it can also relax you, and has been shown to lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
Tips on how to fit in extra steps into your day:
- Take the stairs, not the elevator where possible
- Get off the train or bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way
- Schedule meetings as walking meetings
- Explore new healthier lunch options further away from your workplace and walk there
- Use the bathroom on an alternative level and take the stairs
Get your SiSU Move E-Book – Your guide to simple exercises for everyone.
Explore our Move Ebook for a 28-day activity plan. Filled with inspirational ways for you to increase your daily activity and much more, this resource will help you stay on track in improving your health.
Callaghan, P 2004, ‘Exercise: a neglected intervention in mental health care?’ J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2004;11:476–483.