By Tiffany Coulson, Mattawa Library

We all know how our mind can influence what we think about getting up and moving.  We might think we are too tired, too busy, depressed or unmotivated so we don’t “feel” like exercising.  But the connection between your body and your mind is a two way street — just moving can change your brain too!

Many kinds of movement release chemicals in the brain that can benefit mental health.  Even moderate intensity exercise three times a week can have a dramatic influence on your body and mind, improving memory, relieving stress, and alleviating some symptoms of mental illness in individuals with anxiety, bi-polar disorder, depression or ADHD. These positive effects of movement are seen in people of all ages — from children to teens, adults and the elderly.

Here are some tips to get you moving with help from your library!

Incorporate movement into your everyday routine

Create an opportunity to walk by parking a little farther away from where you work or from the grocery store .  If you go outside to take out the trash – walk past your destination and walk an extra 5 minutes before returning home.  At work if you walk to the copy machine, take a turn around the building to get your body moving and  your  brain more active.  How about incorporating some yoga into your family’s bedtime routine? Check out the children’s yoga story Good Night Yoga, available in Print and DVD.

Do something you enjoy

For some people, movement might mean going for a run or a trip to the gym; but  it might mean dancing or gardening for others!  Try streaming a popular Tai Chi video from Hoopla!

 

Socialize movement

When you head out for a walk, meet a friend at a halfway point, or take a co-worker with you as you walk during a break at work.  For maximum benefit, get the whole family involved in your efforts to move more with an evening bike ride, a game of soccer or a weekend hike!  You can even check out a free pass to Washington Public Lands along with a backpack loaded with hiking accessories like binoculars.  All available at your library!

Change How You Think About Exercise

Remember the brain body connection.  Think positively about moving! Tell yourself out loud …

“I know if I move I’ll feel better about myself.”

 “If I get out of the car and walk for 5 minutes, I’ll relieve my anxiety.”

 “Moving is good for me and is  something I can do for positive self care.”

A book about the brain body connection will help you build habits for positive self talk. Try Spark: the revolutionary science of exercise and the brain.

Acknowledge Road Blocks

Too tired?  No way to get to a gym?  Maybe you have young children that challenge your free time.  Being aware of what keeps you from moving will also help you think of ways you can overcome those challenges.  Your library card gets you access to Kanopy streaming videos with great information about the power of exercise and the brain. Start with The Power of Exercise

Whatever your choice, connecting with your library on-line or in person can help get you moving!

Sources:

NAMI 8 Keys to Mental Health through Exercise

Harvard Medical School How Simply Moving Benefits Mental Health

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