Exercising offers more than just muscle

Shyanne Belzer/MDN

Shyanne Belzer/MDN

One thing that is pretty unanimously good for your health is being active. There are a lot of benefits of it. Exercising can promote weight loss, it can help prevent disease and illness, improve mood and boost energy, and it can even improve sleep.

It is recommended that a person should get around 30 minutes of physical activity a week. This could mean walking, jogging, swimming, anything that gets you moving and sitting less.

For many people, this goal of being active everyday has led to an active lifestyle all around. For example Minot resident Jill Hambek tries to exercise every day for about an hour, though she used to do much more.

“I always liked being active and I love how it makes me feel. It’s fun,” Hambek said about why she started exercising.

Typically, Hambek likes to run and do crossfit, though she joked that if she was really a hard core crossfit person, she would watch what she eats too, but for her, exercising means she can eat whatever she wants. Having that diet freedom is one of the perks of exercising for her, right under seeing the results of her workout routine.

One of the many benefits of exercise is that it can boost your mood. Many people describe the happy feeling after a workout as a “runner’s high.” What specifically makes a runner’s high occur is hard to say, but the most popular theory is that running releases more of the happy chemical, endorphin, into the brain. For Hambek, the high is real and one of the many reasons that she is motivated to run and exercise every day.

Another avid exercise buff here in Minot is Jacque Krieger. Krieger exercises five to six days a week for at least one hour a day. Sometimes she exercises twice a day. Like Hambek, she’s gotten into doing crossfit and will do that most days while running at least two to three times a week.

“I played a lot of sports in high school and learned that I love to run. I did cross country too. After I graduated, I just kind of kept it up,” Krieger said.

She keeps up her exercise routine because she says it makes her feel a lot better when she is done, especially on bad days. For her, the runner’s high is definitely a thing too, which is another perk that motivates her to keep exercising.

“The high usually hits around mile two or three,” Krieger said. “You just have to push past what you think is your breaking point and after that it just becomes so good.”

Unlike Hambek, Krieger does have a special diet that she keeps up. Each Sunday she will set up meal prep for the week for her lunches at work. It typically consists of chicken, a vegetable like broccoli, and rice or quinoa. She always goes for a fat, a protein, and a carb. She said it’s a good little mix. Recently she has been having sweet potatoes.

For many people, having the motivation to start exercising, even just a few times a week, can be hard. Many say though that the health benefits and the good feeling that follows is always worth it, and there are many different ways to exercise. It can be simply walking or jogging. For Hambek and Krieger, they add in crossfit, which is a wide range of different workouts. Many gyms offer classes for both avid workout buffs and for those new to the ways. Whatever you do, experts push for at least a little exercise a day.

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