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to exercise


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By bassmatii - June 14, 2019

“I don’t have time to exercise. I’m already overcommitted and overscheduled.”
“I’ll exercise when I feel better. I am so stressed right now that I can’t push myself to
do one more hard thing.”
Sound familiar? Yet it turns out that the most important time to exercise is exactly
when you might not want to—when you are feeling overwhelmed. Exercise can improve
your mood for up to three hours after working out20 and can reduce stress reactivity.21
Stress can shorten telomeres, but exercise shields telomeres from some of stress’s damage.
Our colleague Eli Puterman, a psychologist and exercise researcher at the University of
British Columbia, has studied high-stress women, including many stressed-out caregivers.
The more the women exercised, the less their stress ate away at their telomeres (see figure
17). The exercise actually buffered their telomeres from the insidious and telomereshortening
effects of stress. Even if your schedule is packed, even if you feel too
exhausted to do a hard workout, find a way to slip in some exercise. For example, the two
of us maintain busy schedules, but while working on this book we took walks together,
thinking through the chapters aloud as we went up and down the hills of San Francisco.
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