Did that spin class make you feel on top of the world? Or that run that simply felt like you were on top of the world?
There is a proven connection between physical health and exercise and mental well being.
We are not talking about deep meditation techniques or kundalini yoga alone. While those are specialized techniques, there is much more to why your mental and emotional well being may be connected to your fitness levels and overall health. Today’s definition of health is holistic – not just the health of your body and being physiologically sound, but also a fine state of mental well being and emotional health.
Exercise, like food can effect mental health and behavior. Good food that is well balanced in all nutrition can provide the right nourishment and contribute to long term cognitive capabilities. Remember how your grandmother admonished you for following that strict Indian diet plan post-patrum? Or when your mood soared with excitement when you saw that favorite snack? Or the studies that show that continuous processed food intake affects behavior because it is high in sugar and salt. Food effects our mood swings and emotional capabilities. The same goes for exercise, and we will see how:
Exercise has an obvious correlation with sleep. You will sleep better after a workout is a no brainier. Not just because you are tired, but your body’s internal sleep cycle is also tuned. Your REM cycle of sleep improves, meaning your body is relaxing better. Sleep is very important to your mental health, and if we may, we’d say more vital than food! Don’t get us wrong, you can probably stretch yourself without food for a day, but your body simply won’t if you deprive it of the sleep it richly deserves.
Long term memory:
The brain is a muscle. Studies have shown that exercising regularly, and endurance training, especially weights can help aid the production of neorepinephrine, a chemical that helps the brain in remembering things. Exercise for as low as per day have shown a spike in the chemical over a long period of time, indicating that exercise has a strong role in memory retention. The same applies to mitigating the risk of an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Increases the happy hormone:
Exercise directly helps spike the production of endorphins – the happy hormones. Remember the euphoria you experience when you complete those laps around the ground? Yes, your exercise is producing endorphins, which are in turn making you feel happy and contended.
Helps deal with anxiety and stress:
Exercise and working out your body releases chemicals into your bloodstream during and after exercise that help cope with anxiety and stress. People experiencing panic attacks have reported a reduction in its onset with as low as 20 minutes of some form of exercise in a day. Elders and children too have specifically experiences a calming effect, so much so that exercising is often recommended as a coping strategy to stress.
Improves image & confidence:
Exercising will give you a great physical appearance that boosts your self confidence is a known fact. However, the slew of positive emotions you experience as a result gives you a terrific self esteem enhancement. You might inspire people around you. Like the says goes – Look good, feel great!
When you work out and feel good about yourself, it becomes a habit. You look to ingrain this system of working towards a goal, and putting in physical efforts to achieve any target set. This onslaught of positivity in every approach brings a change in mindset. It increases speed, improves productivity and with it of course productive results follow.
Depression is the feeling of having no energy to do anything anymore. This dip in energy levels has a detrimental effect on your general well being and mood. When you exercise, you feel energized and rejuvenated. Over a prolonged period of time, this energy only increases. Do you notice how some people radiate energy when they enter into a space? Energy is vital to everything we do. Exercise gives you better energy levels, and thus helps battle depression and melancholy.
Exercising is so much more than getting into shape. When combined with the right routine, environment and nutrition it can do wonders for you that go beyond your physical appearance. Whether you are walking and jogging, or have signed up for diet and exercise plans online, remember exercise a little everyday!
Trina Roy is a celebrated nutrition and fitness coach. With a team of trainers and certified specialists, we help people identify and reach their transformation goals. We believe that good health is a continuous commitment and fitness has to be sustainable. Reach out to our panel of experts for personalized fitness coaching online.