Featured Image Caption: Runners Silhouettes Athletes
Social media surfing often brings us across these fantastic stories of people who’ve achieved major body transformations. From chain smoker to marathon runners, weaklings to gym rats, and beer bellies to six-packs – it is inspiring yet frustrating for some. Realizing your fitness is flat-lining while those guys consistently seem to get better is annoying.
We suggest you find a positive channel for this irritation. There is no magic trick that they’re hiding. But the truth is, they achieved those results with sheer dedication, determination, and drive.
Workout calls for a change in lifestyle
None of those crazy success stories could be possible without a lifestyle modification. Justin Klien of HumanFitProject puts it very well when he says most people find motivation when they’ve hit rock bottom. They can no longer continue feeling the way they do. It triggers them to change.
When you kickstart the journey, remember that no one gets a perfect body without drudgery. It has to be slow and steady but consistent. This means developing the habit of frequent exercise and a proper diet without going gung-ho at the start. Once you start seeing the results, you eventually begin to embrace a total lifestyle change.
Physical and Mental Health – an intricate connection
The World Health Organization defines mental health as:
‘A state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease.’
From this and various other studies, we readily conclude that physical activity plays a critical role in developing the brain and supporting essential brain functions. Exercise leads to clear thinking, improved hand-eye coordination, better attention, and enhanced learning.
Physician and researcher Dr. Dean Ornish is the pioneer of intensive lifestyle alteration. His program emphasizes nutrition and exercise as well as psychological factors like depression, isolation, and anxiety. Marcus Tullius Cicero supports the association when he says:
“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigor.”
Mental Health and Chronic Conditions
Nowhere is the relationship between physical and mental health is more evident than in the domain of chronic conditions. The association lies in the fact that:
- Poor mental health is a potential risk factor for chronic diseases
- People with chronic conditions are more vulnerable to poor mental health
- Individuals with severe mental troubles are at high risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions
Critical aspects of prevention include more physical activity, access to nutritious food, and fostering social support.
Acknowledging the link between mind and body is the initial step when developing strategies to reduce co-existing conditions. It also helps to provide support for those suffering from mental or chronic illnesses.
How does exercise help to improve physical health?
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity per day. And only 1 in 3 adults receive the recommended amount each week.
If adopted, regular physical activity may:
- Control your weight: It burns the calories gained from food and drinks.
- Reduces the risk of heart conditions: Increased blood flow raises the oxygen levels in your body. There are lower chances of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart failure.
- Manages blood sugar and insulin levels: Cuts down the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
- Strengthens bone and muscles: Slows the loss of bone density that comes with age. Muscle training allows you to maintain a more muscular mass.
- Less risk of cancer: Fewer chances of lung, breast, colon, and uterine cancer.
- Improves sleep: Helps you develop better sleeping habits.
- Better sexual health: Lowers the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Also, it increases sexual arousal for women.
Given the perks, people must know how they should make physical activity a healthy yet enjoyable part of their lives.
The impact of workout on mental health
According to Exercise and Wellbeing, a review published by Penedo FJ and Dahn JR. in 2005, physical activity positively impacts a person’s overall mood. It also stimulates chemicals that affect parts of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
It gives you the confidence to combat loneliness and isolation by coming into contact with other people. Note that the effects of physical activity extend beyond the short-term. As per James Blumenthal, Ph.D. and a clinical psychologist at Duke University:
“There’s good epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people.”
On the contrary, if one exercises regularly, it helps them to recover their mental health issues. It pumps more blood to the brain, allowing a person to think with clarity. It also increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory function. Alongside this, there is an improved connection between the nerve cells to protect the brain against injury and disease.
Based on accumulative evidence, it would be correct to state that physical activity is one of the most useful methods to reduce mental health conditions in a society.
Take care of essentials – a key to reap maximum rewards
Essential workout gear is integral to ensure you make the most out of your physical activity. There are a bunch of things:
- Fitness trackers, such as Fitbit Ionic or Fitbit Versa
- Sport-specific shoes from Brooks or Vionic
- Fitness apparel like boxer briefs to wick moisture away (men) and high-waisted leggings (women)
- Sunscreens and Bodybalms from Bodyglide or other local producers
- Sunglasses to protect eyes (for outdoors)
- Armbands for smartphones, such as those by Sprigs
- Refillable water bottles, like those by Contigo
Having at least some of these workout tools will help you stay comfortable and confident during these sessions. Hence, you can make the most out of short exercise sessions.
Living in the current tech-intensive world comes with a baggage of responsibilities, stress, and physical strain. Instead of allowing it to crush your personality, try being the ninja against it. Power up yourself with exercise and watch how things automatically become wonderful for you.
You get the courage to face the troubles even if they do not resolve.
We’re hoping you agree with our perceptions. If there’s any query or confusion, feel free to ask below!