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Mental Health Monday: the mental benefits of working out

On the CDC's website it says each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity each week.

MACON, Ga. — Most people think about the physical benefits of working out, but there's growing evidence of mental and emotional benefits too.

Even by just adding a couple of hours of activity spread across the whole week, you can build up your mood along with your muscles. 

Shawn Maxwell says as a former athlete he used to work out a lot, but after tearing his bicep and triceps he had to shut down his exercising. Now he's dedicated to getting his body moving again.

"I went down for about a year or two, so really I'm just trying to get back to the flow of the things, to the rhythm. Trying to get back to where I'm in there every day," Maxwell said.

His latest motivation: he wants to live long enough to see his daughters get married. 

But he noticed his break from the gym had other effects. 

When he wasn't working out he says he got lazy, made excuses, wasn't motivated and could not focus throughout the day. Now, he feels like he's back on track. 

"It helps me not think about the stuff that happened yesterday. It helps me reflect on what I need to do moving forward. It clears my mind, prepares me for the day, and just gets me right," Maxwell said. 

Licensed therapist Madison Norris says when it comes to mental health, your mind and body are connected. It's easy to under-estimate the influence of exercise and all the extra benefits.

"There are a lot of boosts for us. Our boosts in our mood. It influences our concentration. It helps us feel more alert and decreases our stress. I don't know about you but when we are stressed we have a lot of muscle tightness," Norris said. "Exercise influences our endorphins because when we exercise there's an endorphin release. There is a biological basis for this."

On the CDC's website it says each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity each week. 

The CDC also says you don't have to do those 150 minutes all at once. It could be simple as a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood three days a week and then maybe an hour of yard work or some other activity. 

Norris says pace yourself and ease yourself into the routine don't force it.

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