Finding your exercise motivation
Exercising is an essential part of staying healthy. Consistent exercise benefits have been studied for decades and is linked to healthy cardiovascular systems, improved muscle function, optimal cognitive processing, and a healthy weight. Many of us know we could use more exercise in our week, but finding our motivation isn’t as easy.
Personally, I’ve gone through many different exercise “phases” in my life. My first experience with consistent exercise as a child was forced upon me by my parents as a PE credit. I had to hike to the top of a small mountain by my house two to three times every week. I absolutely hated it. I cried, I threw fits, and questioned my parent’s sanity. I tried just about everything to make it more enjoyable including listening to music, distracting myself with mental games, and just plainly complaining until I was exhausted.
Over the years, though, I noticed that something magical was happening; whenever I finished my hike, I felt euphoric. My mood was radically changed after a workout. As a teenager, I only thought exercise was a means to obtain the model body I idolized (which never happened, by the way). I tried hours of plain cardio, then swapped to weightlifting, then tried aerobic dance, or kickboxing, then yoga… you get the idea. Now in my late twenties, I’m leaning into that post-exercise high I’ve enjoyed for so many years and my exercise habits are driven by my mental health. I simply start each morning with a brisk walk and top it off with light weights at home. Just enough to maintain my strength, and plenty to boost my mood.
No matter our exercise type, we all experience physiological stress
Whatever your reason for working out is, whether you’re training for a marathon, are a bodybuilder, a dog walker, a yogi, or just want to ease the stress of everyday life like me, there is one universal truth to exercise; the mechanics and biological processes that our bodies undergo during exercise are the same. We all have little proteins called myosin and actin that work together to contract our muscles, we all have increased blood circulation during heavy movement, and we all increase production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during our workout.1
When our body produces reactive oxygen species, we can take on damage to proteins, lipids, and DNA.2 Reactive oxygen species include free radicals. This isn’t to drive you away from exercise; free radical production is simply part of the normal metabolic process of living. Thankfully, our amazing body also has tools to protect us from free radicals and the nutrients that we consume are part of that antioxidant defense system. Vitamins like vitamin E and C, for example, function as antioxidants to fight damage left by free radicals.
The role of nutrition and defense against free radicals
A new and interesting ingredient recently highlighted for its antioxidant-rich benefits is marine phytoplankton. Marie phytoplankton is a type of microscopic marine algae. The National Ocean Service states, “Phytoplankton, also known as microalgae, are similar to terrestrial plants in that they contain chlorophyll and require sunlight in order to live and grow. Most phytoplankton are buoyant and float in the upper part of the ocean, where sunlight penetrates the water. Phytoplankton also require inorganic nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates, and sulfur which they convert into proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.”3 Phytoplankton provide food for many types of sea creatures as the base of many food webs. You may benefit from phytoplankton too, according to new data.
One human pilot trial gave participants 25mg of Oceanix™ brand marine phytoplankton for 30 days. Participants noticed benefits in peak performance, physiological response, and body composition.4 These benefits are thought to be a result from phytoplankton’s antioxidant-rich composition. Not only is phytoplankton a good source of antioxidants, but it’s also naturally clean and easy to add to your nutrition routine. You can toss it in a smoothie, sprinkle it over a salad, or take it in a supplement form. Oceanix™ is naturally derived, non-GMO, vegan, and sustainably cultivated as well.
Aside from supplements, you can support your post-workout recovery and performance by increasing antioxidant intake in your diet. Try adding these top USDA tested superfoods to your routine for the best post-workout recovery5:
- Kidney beans
- Pinto beans
- Red delicious apples
- Russet potatoes
- Dark leafy greens