Exercise turns out to be the closest thing to a wonder drug that self-control scientists have discovered. For starters, you will see the benefits of exercise are immediate; even small amounts of exercise reduce cravings with longer term benefits of relieving stress and depression more effective than Prozac. Exercising also enhances the biology of self-control by increasing baseline heart rate variability and training the brain. Physical exercise makes your brain better and faster and the prefrontal cortex shows the largest training effect. Anything above and beyond a sedentary lifestyle will improve your willpower reserve.
In terms of casual exercise, green exercise gets you outdoors and in the presence of Mother Nature, which is effective even in small durations and low intensities. Here are some ideas for your own five minute green exercise willpower boost:
- Get out of the office and head for the closest greenery
- Line up a favourite song on your iPod and walk or jog around the block
- Take your dog outside to play and chase the toy yourself
- Do a bit in your garden
- Step outside for some fresh air and do a few simple stretches
- Challenge your kids to a race game
If you tell yourself that you are too tired or don’t have time to exercise, start thinking of exercise as something that restores, not drains your energy and willpower.