Exercise Makes You Healthier and Happier by Ying Dai

Feeling down?  Schoolwork, chores, weight-gain and low energy — so many things can stress you out.  How can you handle it?

The simplest thing you can do is to exercise.

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Most exercise involves a certain level of physical activity, some more, some less, but all will make your heart pump faster.  All adults are recommended to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, to help stave off chronic diseases.

Exercise can potentially benefit your health.  Some of the benefits are more obvious, but you may be surprised to find out that you can benefit not just physically, but emotionally as well which means exercise makes you feel happier!

When people exercise, they can secrete endorphins which makes them feel happy and excited.  In the long-term exercise is valuable because it trains your brain to believe, ‘My behavior matters,’ which is optimism.

 Exercise at North Carolina State University

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Excercise class held in the Carmichael Recreation Center at NC State University.

We are so lucky that we study and live at NCSU as we have many different choices for exercise.  We can choose the classes we like.  But most importantly, classes are free for NC State students!

Running

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Lake Johnson, Raleigh, North Carolina

We can run the trails around Lake Johnson Park near NCSU.  People who live here enjoy running alongside the lake.

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Seniors jogging around Lake Johnson.

No matter how old you are, you can run.  Many seniors here are running.

No matter how many kids you take care of, you can run.  Many couples can be seen here with their babies running.

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A park enthusiast jogs with his dog.

No matter how many things you do, you can find time to run.

You can run anytime, anywhere and with anyone–even with your dogs.

 

 

 

Running makes you happy and live longer.  Still not convinced?  Come try it with us!

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Mei and Jiarui run the Lake Johnson trails.

 

Swimming
Maybe you are curious about water exercise. You can go swimming.

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NC State University Aquatic Center

  1. Getting or keeping in shape.
  2. Helping you recover from sickness.
  3. Increasing muscular flexibility.
  4. Improving ability to control and maintain healthy weight.

There are a lot of benefits for swimming, it gives you a chance to relax and forget about work and problems.
Do water exercises in a playful way! Laugh and enjoy it! Water exercise is fun!

Group Fitness Class 
Going to fitness class is my favorite way to exercise.  Three different types of fitness are Cardio, Strength Training, and Mind-Body.

Whether you’re just getting into an exercise routine, or have been a fitness enthusiast for years, group exercise classes are a great way to ratchet your fitness level up a notch.

When you’re on your own you may slow down a little when you get tired, or even give up when you get winded.  But in a group setting, the instructor will push you to keep going, even when you think you can’t make it another second.  Not only that, but your classmates will also encourage you.  If they can do it, so can you.

  1. Cardio: Like dancing? Take a ZUMBA class – or maybe even a cardio dancing class.
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ZUMBA Class at Carmichael Recreation Center, Studio C

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Cardio Dance Class at Carmichael Recreation Center, Studio B

Cardio exercise is perfect for anyone and everyone!

Each class is designed to bring people together to sweat it up.  Cardio Dance is a total workout, combining all elements of fitness – cardio, muscle conditioning, balance and flexibility, boosted energy and a serious dose of awesome.

The most important thing: have fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously!

 

 

  1. Strength Training: Looking for a challenge and want to strengthen your body? You can always enroll in a Body Pump or H.I.I.T class.

If you are not familiar with the format, a Body Pump class is 60 minutes in length and involves moderate to high intensity resistance training with a barbell.

Exercisers are effective at increasing muscular strength and endurance and developing efficiency in movements and muscle activation.

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Body Pump

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H.I.I.T

 

  1. Mind & Body: Prefer a quieter workout? Try a yoga or Pilates class.

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Yoga can create strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body.

The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can reduce chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Yoga can also lower blood pressure and cure insomnia.

You also get benefits through Pilates: increased flexibility, maintaining balance and improving respiration.  Pilates can help manage high stress levels, which has been known to have devastating effects on the body and mind.

The benefits of taking one of these group fitness classes go beyond the obvious.  You will get a great workout and improve your health while having fun doing something you love.

Of course, you also can hire a personal trainer to help you.

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A personal trainer guides a weight lifter through proper arm positioning.

No matter what type of exercise you are interested in, make a decision to try it out.  It’s worth it to stay active by doing something you enjoy. Have fun!

 

 

 

 

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Ying Dai