It’s the most wonderful—and potentially stressful—time of the year! Between parties, shopping, and hosting family and friends, the excitement of the holidays can also be slightly overwhelming. It can be tempting to put off exercise when you’re feeling spread thin. However, Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett stated that committing to exercise can actually help you establish a sense of control over your body and life. Find out why you should keep active during all the hustle and bustle of the holidays:
· Bust Stress:
"A workout program will reduce stress if done consistently, and it is the consistency that helps reduce stress," said Lt. Cmdr. Austin Latour, an exercise physiologist with the Navy Physical Readiness Office. Latour added that people are creatures of habit and routine, and it's the sense of routine along with the benefits of exercise, that help reduce stress.
Stress studies involving animals that have been conducted since the late 1980s have found that exercise increases brain concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical thought to play a major role in stress response. According to PsychCentral
, 50 percent of the brain’s supply is produced in an area that connects most of the brain regions involved in emotional and stress responses.
· Boost Body Functions:
Exercise forces the body’s various systems to communicate and operate much more closely than usual. For example, during exercise the cardiovascular system communicates with the renal system, which communicates with the muscular system, which is controlled by the central and sympathetic systems—all of which contribute to your body’s optimal function for your best physical and emotional well-being. This collaboration between the different systems helps you look and feel your best.
· Sleep Tight:
Working out causes a natural and welcomed fatigue in the body and mind, allowing you to sleep more soundly, which in turn helps you experience less stress. Studies show that even people that suffer from insomnia fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer after exercising.
· Beat Those Winter Blues:
Feeling cold and unmotivated? “There’s convincing evidence that 30 minutes of vigorous exercise
three times a week is effective against depression
,” said Dr. Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation. Regular physical activity changes the levels of the mood-regulating chemical serotonin in the brain.