Ask the Nurse: The Case for Physical Fitness | A Happy Life

Ask the Nurse: The Case for Physical Fitness

Deciding to step up your physical activity is a great move for your health. It will take you to exciting destinations — like elevating your mood, increasing your energy, improving your sleep, and helping you manage stress.

Elevate Your Mood

With skyrocketing costs, hectic schedules, and the stressors of everyday life, it’s easy to develop a glass-half-empty mindset. But daily exercise — aiming for at least 10,000 steps — can help you see your glass half full by:

  • Releasing endorphins — hormones that help boost your outlook
  • Alleviating depression and reducing anxiety
  • Balancing levels of serotonin, which creates a more stable frame of mind.

Increase Your Energy

Have you ever started your day energized and ready to go, only to be crashing by mid-afternoon? Many people experience this dip in energy. Not only is it a problem in how you feel, it also can hinder your work performance. You can beat the slump with consistent walking habits.

More effective than any caffeine drink, exercise can provide long-lasting energy. In a recent study, previously inactive people increased their energy by 20% and reduced fatigue by 65% through a regular workout routine. When you’re physically active, your body actually responds by generating more energy.

Improve Sleep

Head outdoors and walk in the daylight — it can regulate your body’s production of melatonin at night, allowing a deeper, more relaxing sleep. Studies also show that physical activity 3-4 hours before you go to bed can promote better quality sleep and a restful night.

Manage Stress

Everyone has stressors, and some may not be quickly or easily solved. In fact, some sources of stress may never go away. So what do you do? Get moving! Walking helps manage stress by:

Promoting a positive mindset; a good attitude is a serious force against stress
Giving you time to clear your thoughts and work through what’s bothering you
Managing your instinctual fight-or-flight response and providing a healthy way to expel negative emotions.

Aerobic activity (walking, running, swimming, or cycling) and flexibility workouts (yoga or Pilates) both reduce stress.

A Winning Strategy

The physical benefits of exercise are well known — it’s your biggest weapon against weight gain and helps prevent many conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. But exercise also offers benefits that can’t be measured on a scale or by a doctor — like mood, stress, and energy levels. Improve your outlook and your health with a fun, flexible walking routine.

Do have a question you would like to Ask the Nurse? Email with the subject line "Ask the Nurse."

Visit the American Red Cross website for more information and to learn how you can help.


5 Steps to a Happy Life with Positive Attitude

Believe Happiness is a Choice
Your glass is half full, not half empty .

Rid Your Life of Negativity
Eliminate negativity that is in your control. If it isn’t, change how you react to the negativity.

Look For the Positive in Life
Be intentional. Practice Mindfulness and being present in the moment.

Reinforce Positivity in Yourself
Be your own best friend - treat yourself as kind as you do your best friend.

Share Happiness with Others
Spend time with friends, laugh, volunteer, and nurture others and your spirit.

* Referenced Positive Attitude Happy Life article, Think Simple Now