Exercise is essential to your feeling of well-being. Far beyond helping you burn a few calories, or getting your heart to pump for a few minutes each day, exercising can help you feel better both physically and emotionally.
When you exercise, you body releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel better almost instantaneously. It will give you a small time high similar to what you experience when you dive into a huge chocolate fudge sundae. The difference is, exercise is good for you and the sundae is not. Many people turn to food in order to get that instantaneous feeling of comfort. It is not in your head, food does have that effect, but so does exercise. And when you finish exercising, the increase in your sense of well-being will be lasting. If you have turned to fatty or sugary foods instead, the long term effect will be negative. Especially if you are doing a form of exercise that requires your mental attention as well as your physical movement, your worries will disappear for a moment and all you will be focused on is completing the task at hand. That can be extremely freeing. Next time you are feeling down, try going for a walk instead of getting something to eat. It can be difficult to get going, but in the end you will feel much better.
Also, as you improve your overall health through diet and fitness, your self esteem will improve greatly. You will feel better, have more energy, and think more clearly, all of which will contribute to your having more confidence in yourself. Achieving your fitness goals will give you a sense of accomplishment that will spill over into the rest of your life.
As your body kicks into gear for a good work out, your whole body wakes up and feels more alive. That feeling lasts long after your workout. Many people find that on days where they work out they can think more clearly about difficult decisions, and that they have more energy to do the many tasks they need to accomplish throughout their day. Exercising can give you the momentum you need to face the rest of your life with energy.
Many people start on an exercise program because they want to be healthier and to lose weight. What many people don't realize is that not only will they burn calories during their workout, but they will build muscle that requires additional energy to maintain, so they will be burning more calories even when they are not exercising. The important thing is to pick a starting point that is right for you. All of the benefits to your mood and self esteem will be reversed if you start on an exercise regimen that you can't maintain. Giving up on your goals will put you right back where you started, so start small and be consistant. You can increase your goals as you go along.
Exercise is important to your all around well-being. It positively affects the way you think and feel as well as the way you look. If improving your health hasn't been enough to get you moving, consider the effects listed above and go put your sneakers on!