Exercise and Mental Well-Being
By Haley Rottenberg | Staff Psychologist
Exercise is hard. Period.
Even as an avid runner and yogi, I sometimes find myself groaning in the morning as my alarm goes off when the streets are still dark. But every day I choose to lace up my running shoes anyway. Some days, I feel great and ready to move. Other days, I feel less motivated and struggle to find my groove. Over the years, I've learned to listen to my body and accept what it tells me: occasionally, it tells me to slow down or rest, other times it tells me to pick up the pace or stay in a challenging yoga pose a few seconds longer. Either way, I can honestly say that I’ve never finished a workout and thought, “I wish I hadn’t exercised today.”
Though it may not be easy, I bet that we could all find reasons to fit being active into our lives. Outside of the physical benefits, exercise can help decrease depression, anxiety, and stress, improve concentration, and help us maintain the treatment gains that we work so hard to attain. The simple act of getting out and doing something for ourselves can make a significant difference in our mood, motivation, self-confidence and mental well-being for the rest of the day.
As the humidity lifts and the fall colors appear, let’s commit to engaging in safe and healthy, doctor-approved physical activity. This can take many forms: whether it be increased stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking a few extra blocks, or taking an exercise class, we can all do something for ourselves, however brief and no matter our ability.
There are few moments that I find as peaceful and rewarding as running through Central Park with hundreds of strangers as the sun comes up. Sometimes, I think about staying in bed instead of getting active. But I know that my mind and body will thank me later. Yours will too.