Studies have proven that physical activity can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, the results may vary depending on where and how you work up a sweat.

Integrative exercise is physical activity that is designed to accomplish some sort of task such as planting a garden, playing with your kids, walking to work or to the store, mopping the floors, walking the dog, and so forth. This is the exercise our bodies were designed for.

Before desk jobs and highways, jobs consisted of “grunt work” that required walking up and down hills with heavy loads, chopping wood, etc.  However, because most of us will probably not be inspired to take on a daily routine of chopping wood or carrying water barrels up hills, the integrative exercise you choose will probably be more leisurely. Therefore I do not think these activities should take place of your normal workouts. It is still important for you to increase your heart rate, build muscle, and maintain a healthy body fat percentage. Instead, they should be exactly what they are called. Integrate them into your weekly routine in order to see results in your mood, energy levels, enthusiasm, and personal relationships.

Three days a week, take your integrative exercise outdoors. Getting outside and being in nature is one of the best things you can do for your overall being. If you can get outside before 4pm, even better! Vitamin D, from the sun, is vital to your daily happiness. Just remember to wear SPF!

Ask a friend or your significant other to join you on a beautiful hike and also get the mental benefits of social bonding.


-Emily Freeman

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