Happiness! HOW IS EXERCISE GOING TO HELP ME ACHIEVE IT?
June 25, 2012
It’s an interesting question and one I hadn’t thought about until about 6-months ago as it relates to fitness. My shift to longevity started 9 years ago after my parents died at young ages (61 and 64). When looking back at my childhood and just before they both passed away there was an underlying consistency. Neither parent was happy with the direction their life had gone and both were depressed and overly stressed about it.
WHY BE HAPPY?
Contrary to old notions that happiness is frivolous, shallow or naive, there is a growing body of evidence that happiness is beneficial for survival of illness and longevity (Diener 2012). In the Harvard Public Health Review, “In a study of that followed more than 6,000 men and women aged 25-74, for 20 years Kubzansky and Thurston (2007) determined that emotional vitality-a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement of life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance-appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.”
BECOMING FIT for HAPPINESS
When you decide with all your heart to be happy, you are calling upon the grace and power of your original nature to help you out. In other words, you are not trying to create something that doesn’t exist; you are choosing to be yourself again. By choosing to start an exercise program you are going back to your original self where nothing is impossible, your story has not been written yet. It starts with the first step.
Fitness and happiness share important common ground. Both contribute significantly to better overall health, and both are lifelong processes that create lasting change.
On days when you don’t feel happy it’s best if you perform any cardio you enjoy at a heart rate of 50-60% of your heart rate max (HRMax). This is a low intensity zone that provides primarily metabolic and emotional benefits. It’s good for lowering cholesterol, reducing emotional stress and improving blood pressure.
Focus on breathing in and out through the nose. This technique will allow you to disconnect from your stress. If you listen to music while exercising it should be soothing, not overly excitable or it will be counter productive and only increase blood pressure.
Heart rate max is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 for men, and 226 for women; then multiply that total by .50 – .60. These numbers will give you the high and low numbers to keep your heart rate at while you exercise.
By performing as little as 10-minutes of resistance or weight training positive mood increases can last up to 12 hours. In part because of the sense of accomplishment that takes place and because of the increase in serotonin levels that occurs from lifting weights. Such a program is highlighted in my book/program REAL LIFE FITNESS.
Something else to consider. As both exercisers and non-exercisers we sometimes fall into the trap of thinking, “hey I worked out or owe myself a reward or treat for doing something good!” This is a crazy trap because most of us choose foods or items that are counterproductive to our longterm goal of better health and better choice making and tend to be of the heavy caloric variety.