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The Benefits of Exercise for Your Body-Mind System

The benefits of exercise for your body-mind system are essential for your wellness and well-being. As it gets warmer outside it’s an invitation to look at your exercise routines. This can be a good time to create new options for your body-mind system related to movement, and being more in natural sunlight while incorporating fun and nurture into your daily life.

person running near street between tall trees
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There are many benefits to exercise. These include the reduction of inflammation and stress, as well as depression. Exercise can also help you focus better and get your creative juices going. This happens with the improvement of blood flow giving oxygen and nutrients to the brain. It also supports new brain cell growth. Research has shown that there is a link between academic performance and physical fitness as it improves the function of the Pre-frontal cortex, the thinking center of the brain. This allows better concentration, planning, organization, and calming effect.

Workouts and pleasurable activities in nature along with laughter and touch also help to create motivating, action-oriented dopamine levels and boosts endorphins, the brain’s natural pain relief and pleasure enhancers. Being in the sun also promotes the creation of Serotonin which allows you to feel more peaceful and free from worry. Examples of activities might include walking, running, outdoor Tai Chi, gardening, tennis, kayaking or canoeing, swimming, etc. Dancing can also bring pleasure, is a wonderful brain exercise, and can give you the benefits of connection with physical fitness.

Planning Time for Your Exercise

A recommendation for healthy body-mind functioning suggests that an average of 20 minutes per day inclusive of a short 5-minute walk before and after a meal is supportive for your heart, circulation, and digestion. In Qigong, the recommendation is to walk at least 100 steps after every meal to activate the digestion of your food.

A ten-minute walk in nature produces feel-good brain chemistry. You can use this time to take a mindful walk to reduce stress to combat stress hormones, especially when you are upset or frustrated as the blood rushes to the head, and your brain function centralizes in your survival brain leaving your thinking and emotional brain not as operational. This is a time to get back into a more relaxed state to bring your entire brain on board to have access to more options for the next steps in your day. It is also important to stay hydrated for this purpose to bring the energy flow of your body back up the brain stem to include your emotional and thinking brain and down into the rest of your body.

Taking Care of Your Body When You Exercise

Being in the sun is important, however, it is also vital to dress for being in the direct sun when you are taking an extended walk or exercising. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and appropriate clothing and shoes. Consider taking sunscreen, Tiger Balm, and bug repellent in your travel bag to make your time outdoors more enjoyable.

If you are taking a long road trip, it is recommended that you stop every two hours to walk and stretch your legs for at least 5 minutes. There is good nutritional information on the internet for how to warm up sustain, and cool down for workouts.

After a workout or long walk, drinking water or coconut water can help hydrate and restore your fluids and electrolyte balance. Munch on foods with magnesium like a handful of almonds or dark chocolate. You can also get the benefits of endorphin enhancer from D-phenylalanine from sunflower seeds. Replace potassium with fruits like bananas or other potassium-rich fruits. Eat candied ginger or drink ginger tea for delayed muscle soreness.

man wearing cap and crew neck shirt standing in the middle of forest
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Taking Care of Your Emotions for Exercise

Emotionally, it can sometimes be very difficult to start exercising when you have depleted energy such as in cases of ill health or depression. It’s important to have an aim or direction that inspires you to move toward your growing edge. This means that pleasure, motivation, and momentum all play a role in your successful start.

If your digestion is out of whack or you have had long-term issues with your digestive system, this might be contributing to your state of mind or emotions contributing to your lack of motivation to get started. However, the good news is that any timeframe of movement and exercise will give you beneficial neurotransmitters that will allow you to feel better, while supporting your digestion in a positive way.

Starting by making a daily routine with a natural way to incorporate small movement exercises can create motivation for longer movement routines. This means that to start it’s important to map out the best times and places daily for your movement activities. Choose a few natural activities that fit your schedule and time. Whether it be on your lunch break, 10 minutes in the morning before breakfast for a walk, or after work to wind down before dinner, a safe walk with a coworker or friend or your pet, or a special place you would like to visit to walk, put these on your calendar. You can also incorporate your iPhone with messages or alarms as a reminder, or if you like, put a sticky note in a prominent place like your bathroom mirror to set the day in motion.

Know that stretching is also movement and exercise that you can use to release and calm down when you feel anxious, confused, ungrounded, or have tight muscles from sitting too long. Stretch forward and back, and side to side. You can incorporate music or look out a window at nature to start getting those feel-good neurotransmitters going. The Qigong Bounce and Hold movements are also a great daily activity that you can do in place and only takes a few moments to build your energy when you feel depleted.

Start out slowly if you need. Tune into your body, and notice any biofeedback and sensations you get when you exercise for 5-10 minutes. Increase your time when you are ready. If you are confined to a desk, chair, or bed most of the day, take 5-minute walking or stretching breaks. Take the stairs, ride your bicycle instead of your car, park your car further away from the grocery store, do yard work, wash windows, etc. Find ways to meet your movement and exercise goals as you do different chores. Add your favorite music as you take your break to inspire you. Do a happy dance when you meet your goals. This too is exercise!

teacup with tea
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Walk down the hall or exercise while your tea is heating on the stove or in the microwave, Look for free videos online that have short and gentle movements that you can complete in 5-10 minutes if needed. Here is an example of a gentle beginning workout for a sedentary life.

As you spring, walk, run, dance, stretch, or move into spring, find ways to increase your exercise for the health of your body-mind system. Enjoy your ability to mindfully see, hear, smell, touch, and taste the freedom of movement you have to experience life. Expand your ability to go forward with optimism like the new growth you see all around you in nature. Be in synch with the new possibilities life has to offer you on the emotional, mental, physical, and spirit (core essence of yourself) levels. Notice what is new and different, and take steps toward pathways of hope and optimism.

Kimberly Rex, MS
Kimberly Rex

Kimberly Rex, MS is an Advanced Resonance Repatterning® practitioner, Person-Centered Expressive Therapist, and Wellness and Well-being Life Coach. She works with people all over the world via Skype, phone, and proxy. Set up your personal session here.

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