The seasonal tunes that dominated our airways are gone, right along with visiting relatives. There are no signs of pine trees; no more traffic jams because of people rushing the mall, trying to find the perfect gift. No, that’s all over. What’s left…or rather, what has emerged? The crisp, new smell of a new year…2016.
It’s a year that holds great potential, as well as challenges; the mystery is, you don’t know when either will come. There’s only one variable that you have the most control over…and that’s you…and making sure that you are healthy and in the best shape of your life. This way, you are ready to handle the stress that comes along with the unpredictability of a new year and of daily life!
And one of the best ways to deal with stress is…Drum roll please? You know it! Exercise is one of the best ways to handle stress and the benefits are endless. As a health professional, you know the benefits of this one activity. It helps to make you healthier, feel better and improves your brain function so you can perform your best in 2016 and kick stress to the curb.
Get healthier by incorporating exercise into your daily routine
According to the American Heart Association, “People who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about 7 years longer than those who are not active and are obese.” This certainly includes the fact that regular exercise (30 minutes at least five days a week) helps you avoid and manage high blood pressure, diabetes, negative cholesterol levels and a host of other health risks. And consider other types of activities like yoga, a great alternative if you get sore from hunching over patients for hours at a time. It typically includes assuming postures that flex muscle groups, breathing exercises and meditation. The benefits of yoga include increased flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, cardio and circulatory health, mental wellbeing and much more.
Exercise makes you feel better
As a dental provider, your job keeps you busy, whether it’s standing on your feet all day long, reviewing treatment plan options with patients, performing examinations and educating patients on oral health. Working long hours plus managing and training staff, maintaining dental equipment, taking continuing development courses and the host of other activities you do daily, can take a toll physically and mentally.
The good news is that when you get exercise into your daily routine, your body rewards you with endorphins. Additionally, exercise drives down cortisol levels (otherwise called the stress hormone) which, as you know, has a host of negative effects on your sleep, blood pressure, immune system, weight and more, if it’s elevated for long periods of time.
…and therefore, your daily mental performance. Stay sharp during your appointments with patients or throughout the day as you go about the business of running an office by flexing your brain power! In a study done by researchers in Ireland, they found that participants who were given a memory test following vigorous exercise were more likely to recall more than those who had remained in a rested state. After examining blood samples obtained over the duration of the experiment, they found higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is known for its ability to increase the health of nerve cells; moreover, scientists believe that it explains why mental functioning, including memory, gets better with exercise.
Feeling like getting a gym membership or just starting up your walking habit again? Go for it! Your body and mind is the only one you’ll have. You need it to live a great and quality life so you can enjoy your family and friends. Plus, it’s a great way to show patients the benefits of taking care of their dental and overall health. So, decide that this will be the year that you get and stay healthy. And remember, the solution is simply a step away. Just take a step…and then keep going.