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As Summer approaches many of us get all a flutter with visions of getting outside and enjoying time spent in Mother Nature and part of doing that well and in a sustainable way has a lot to do with proper preparation and in ways no preparation may be as important as the ways in which we engage with exercise. So this week guest blogger Susan Treadway weighs in on just how to do that click the link to read her concise but smart approach to exercising with health in mind. PS did you know that Yoga Living Project is always looking for guest bloggers, vloggers and content producers? Let us know if you or a someone you know might be a good fit at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5 Important Facts About Exercise

You know you need to exercise. Everyone from your doctor to your therapist to the Internet tells you how important physical activity is for the mind, body and spirit. Even armed with that insight, nearly 80 percent of Americans don’t get enough exercise.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise per week. Exercise doesn’t just improve life, but it can help lengthen it, as well. When you start a daily workout routine, you’re making more than a health change; you’re making a lifestyle change.

You’ve probably read all about the benefits of exercise, but if you still need that extra push, here are five important facts about exercise that can get you motivated.

Fact #1: Exercise naturally alters brain chemistry.

We all have a craving or habit we would like to curb and exercise can help us push through both physical and psychological changes. For those in recovery from substance dependence, exercise can have numerous benefits from improved sleep to reduced stress. By releasing endorphins exercise can help sustain the recovery process by re-teaching your body how to regulate mood in healthy, natural ways.

Fact #2: Not all exercise is created equal.

There is no one-size-fits-all mentality to exercise. Not everyone has the same body and metabolism, so different types of exercise affect people in different ways. For some people, an emphasis on cardio can help shed excess pounds and improve cardiovascular health, while others see bigger changes by creating lean muscle with strength training. If you’re looking to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help by burning through fat and keeping your heart rate up. Learn more about finding the right workout for you here.

Fact #3: Exercise improves willpower. It’s not uncommon for the grind of work and responsibility to limit our ability to commit to regular self-care. Our minds and bodies often head to the couch for recovery mode from life’s challenges, but regular exercise can change all that. Maintaining an exercise routine can improve the brain functions that manage decision-making, such as self-control and delayed gratification. As we see positive changes in our bodies over time our confidence soars—not just in the way we look, but also in our ability to stick to a path that accomplishes challenging goals.

Fact #4: Exercise restores mental health.

Research shows that exercise can have a positive impact on long-term depression, anxiety and ADHD. Along with the changes in brain chemistry, exercise gives us a sense of overall well-being, and can be as effective as antidepressant medication in mild or moderate cases. Exercise encourages us to focus; it’s often called a moving meditation. In addition, it also allows us to release tension in our bodies, letting go of stress.

Fact #5: Exercise promotes long-term planning.

We’re a culture of instant gratification, especially when it comes to our bodies. From weight loss pills to fad diets, we’re always looking for ways to get in the best shape as quickly as possible, even if it might actually hurt our bodies. Making exercise a lifelong habit helps you slow down and value the permanence that comes with setting long-term health goals. When we operate out of the pleasure principle, we’re seeking—and ultimately reinforcing—behavior that leads to instant satisfaction. Exercise demands that we make a plan—helping to push through a plateau, cross-training to avoid or recover from injury or reaching a goal, like finishing a 5k. In this way, exercise can teach us to appreciate working for an outcome, finding healthier ways to create long-term satisfaction in our lives.

If you’re looking to inject more activity in your life, start slow and have realistic expectations. If you create a schedule and stick to it, most fitness professionals agree that you’ll start to see improvements in under a month. Those improvements will not only change how you feel about your day, but also how you feel about your life.

Susan Treadway is an addict in recovery. She uses a holistic approach to sobriety to stay on a successful path and believes adopting even a few holistic methods can help anyone struggling with addiction.

She wants everyone to know that you don’t have to be a hippie to embrace holistic wellness – this concept is simply about focusing on your entire sense of well-being rather than just one part. She hopes her website, rehabholistics.com, will inspire anyone who has struggled with addiction to incorporate holistic practices into their own self-care routine.

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