Welcome to 2009. It’s the time for resolutions. I will get very busy working at the gym, where everyone starts an exercise program in January, which lasts until February; then the gym is back to normal. So if you have resolved to start an exercise program this month, I suggest you strive, instead, to “consistently” exercise, rather than to “start” to exercise.
I found an online research project about how exercise affects your emotions (http://www.portfolio.mvm.ed.ac.uk/studentwebs/session5/26/HORMONES.html ). It has a lot of interesting and useful information, although some of it is outdated (the site has no date on it) and some seems plagiarized, in my opinion. It explains how endorphins are released during exercise, which make you feel good and reduce stress. Other hormones released during exercise increase the concentrations of certain hormones that improve depression. In addition, exercise creates a sense of accomplishment; it distracts you from daily stressors, and it can include social interaction. The website overall describes how exercises promotes good health, in a host of ways. It makes you wonder why anyone would not exercise!
For my part, I’ve been exercising pretty consistently, except that I’m sick this week. I teach fitness classes 3x a week, so I make sure to get a workout during my own classes. Then, I only need to add a couple more workouts per week. Since I’ve been exploring new classes to teach, I’m interested and motivated to try new exercise modalities. If you’ve been exercising the same why for a month or longer, try something new. It keeps your motivation high, and challenges your body in new, fun ways.