There are many, many, many different exercise programs, regimes, diet and exercise plans, and studies out there to choose from. Research is showing that, regardless of what plan or routine you choose, the most important thing is to just DO SOMETHING. Get out and exercise. Run, bike, walk, jog, play Frisbee, just get out and do something active. Bottom-line, it will make you feel better.
A single exercise session lasting 20 or 30 minutes at 80 percent of your capacity brings on pain-relieving endorphins, according to work by Robert G. McMurray of the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mandel agrees that even one session makes you feel better and clears your head. “Once you make a commitment to exercise then you are motivated to keep feeling good every day. After about two weeks of exercise you stay on course,” she said in a recent email interview.
Mandel says you can ensure a psychological reward if you tailor your workout level to your stress level. “If you are highly stressed, you need to do a more intense workout which means longer than 30 minutes; if you are less stressed, then 30 minutes should suffice,” she says.
I think the most important part of my overall health and fitness plan (I do have one, do you?) is remaining consistent and working it into my daily life. I actually schedule my workouts over lunch and I block out the time on my calendar. I work a little longer day so I can have the flexibility of taking a longer lunch to squeeze in a workout. Also, I leverage the walk to the gym (about 7 minutes) as a solid warm up for my workout. This allows me to waste less time at the gym and get a better workout in a shorter period of time.
Additionally, I schedule my long runs (I’m currently training for the Twin Cities Marathon) for the weekend. I also put these runs on my calendar and let my family know that I am running on Sunday mornings. I run early enough that it really doesn’t effect anyone else in the family and I’m done with the hardest part of my day first thing. Also, there is nothing better than sitting on my deck in the warm morning sun reading the Sunday paper after a nice long run. It is a great way to start the day!
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