Exercise and Improved Mood

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My name is Margo Bradley and I’m the owner of the FIT4MOM Memphis. I’m a certified personal trainer, a group fitness instructor, and a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in the State of Tennessee. I’ve been practicing social work for almost 15 years and I’ve been teaching group exercise and fitness for eight years.

When the Memphis Mom Collective asked me to write a piece on physical activity and improvements to mood, I jumped at the opportunity to wear both my social worker hat and fitness pro visor. (Even thought I’m not really a hat girl since they squish my curls).

woman exercising

Let’s take a look at 5 ways physical activity improves your mood:

  1. Sleep. Did you know that excise can impact sleep in two ways? First it can give you some energy to help you stay awake during your day. Secondly, it can help you get a better night’s rest. I can only speak for myself when I say that as a mom, I’ll accept any help I can get that gives me energy to get through my day and will also help me sleep better at night.
  2. Exercise is great at helping to reduce isolation.  Feeling stuck at home a lot since last March? Becoming part of a group can greatly improve your mood. You can meet friends, get out of your house, and get in a great workout. Personally, I love group fitness. I love being part of a community and doing things with other people. Even if I don’t know anyone else in the class, I love that I am part of a team, a community, and a village. Group fitness works for me because someone else is going to tell me how to move my body and I don’t have to think about it. As moms, don’t we have enough to think about?
  3. Regular exercise can help grow your confidence, inside and outside of your clothing. Doing burpees is sexy. Crushing a challenging workout provides a great boost to your self-confidence. Feeling good in your own skin has a special glow to it, doesn’t it? Exercise and working out isn’t just about weight loss. When we feel powerful, strong, and even challenged it helps us walk a little taller and stand a little prouder.
  4. Those burpees we just talked about, the increased endurance (or stamina) you get from improvements to your cardiovascular system translate to gains in intimate areas of your life. When you can run or walk longer, you can go longer. When riding the D doesn’t make you breathless, you might be willing to hop on more often. When you are capable of going the distance, you go the distance. I think you get what I am saying. A word of caution, don’t push yourself to fatigue or failure after every workout. Save some of that energy for late night workouts.
  5. Exercise has been long studied, and it is empirically supported (means people smarter than me have actually done scientific research on the subject) that regular exercise has quantifiable (or measurable) improvements to your mood. It is possible that you can see an improvement in mood in as little as one exercise session. If you make exercise, which I will define as movement that fills your cup, part of your weekly routine, imagine how great you will feel on a regular basis.

woman at an exercise class with her baby

The options for how to exercise in Memphis are endless. There are running clubs. Boutique fitness studios. Dance classes. Traditional gyms. Personal trainers. Yoga studios. Bike trails and clubs. Rock climbing. Kayaking. Paddle boarding. Walks in the park. And so much more. Let’s not forget that housework, gardening, and chasing kids is all exercise too.

I encourage you to engage in movement that fills your cup, regardless of intensity or outcome, on a regular basis, and you will benefit from many of the rewards outlined above.

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