By Brenda Owen

Daily Journal

Regular exercise will help you feel better, sleep better, lose weight and be more productive.

“Can you think of a better way to fight the blues?” asks Hank Boerner, director of North Mississippi Medical Center’s Wellness Center in Tupelo.

Boerner said recent research has shown that exercise is an excellent way to fight depression in clinically depressed people.

“It is also beneficial to those who just have the blues and feel down,” he said.

Most beneficial are low level cardiovascular exercises like walking and biking, he said, because people will stick to these activities for an extended period of time.

“The best exercise program is one that is realistic for the person so that he or she does not experience failure,” Boerner said. “The mechanism by which exercise provides these positive effects is virtually unknown. With regular exercise it is thought to be in the body’s neurotransmitters. In lay terms, it seems to have a calming and uplifting effect on both the body and mind.”

When winter weather puts you under the weather and it is hard to exercise outside, Boerner suggests going to gyms and other public facilities to work out.

“If you are not into this, you can go as simple as walking in the mall,” he said.

Or, perk up your pecs without ever leaving your living room.

In just a few minutes a day these three simple exercises can help you knock out those mully-grubs.

Do each movement for two minutes and try not to stop in between. Stretch before and after doing them.

– Ski Stepper. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Bend one knee while stepping back with the opposite leg to place the ball of your foot on the floor. Hold for a beat, then bring back foot forward, bend that knee and step back with the other foot. Scissor your arms forward and back, with your left arm forward when right right leg is back and vice versa. Keeping your back straight, lean forward slightly from the hips as you step back.

– Knee Lifter. Keep your back straight, head up, shoulders back, abdominals tight, and arms out to the sides at shoulder level. Lift one knee and clap your hands underneath it without bending forward. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other leg.

– Leg Curler. Hold on to a chair or wall for support. Step up on a stepper or stair step with your right foot and, bending your left knee, try to touch your buttocks with your left foot. Step down onto your left foot, then step down with your right. Reverse sides. Keep your head up as you step, and lean forward slightly at the hips. As you become more comfortable with this exercise, cross your arms overhead or in front of you.

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