“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise, we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Health is a complete state of harmony between your mind and body. Being healthy is a mixture of both physical and mental fitness. Mental health affects physical health and vice versa. According to the World Health Organisation, “Health is a state of complete mental, social and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Rates of depression have risen in countries like India, China, USA and the UK because of some features of the new “modern lifestyle”. Social isolation, increased screen time, poor diets and an inactive lifestyle are some of the major contributors. An ‘inactive lifestyle’ or ‘sedentary lifestyle’ involves very less physical activity and a person spends most of their time sitting or lying. This contributes to many diseases and health problems like; joint pain, obesity, heart problems etc.

Mental benefits of physical workout

Sure, physical exercise comes with its aesthetic perks of having a toned body, great physique, muscle endurance and strength but most of us indulge in it because it gives us a sense of overall well being. It makes us feel that we have done something productive for ourselves and makes us feel good.

  • Exercising is a very effective way of fighting mild to moderate levels of depression. It promotes the growth of new brain cells and reduces inflammation. It increases the level of serotonin in the body which produces the feeling of calm and wellbeing. It is a great way of distracting yourself from negative thoughts and improves the sleep cycle.
  • Exercise is also a natural treatment for anxiety. It releases endorphins which enhance the feeling of wellbeing and reduce the physical and mental stress giving a boost to energy. Focusing on the movements of muscles helps the mind to focus on the present.
  • When the body is under stress, the muscles become tense and painful. The worry and discomfort lead to disturbed sleep and eat cycle which in turn causes more stress. exercising relieves this vicious cycle. It helps release the muscle tensions and relaxes the body which results in a relaxed mind. Regular exercise helps regulate the adrenaline levels which are responsible for fight and flight response.
  • Studies have proved that when a person focuses upon his muscles and movements during exercise, it helps them to escape the cycle of negative thoughts and reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorders and Other Traumas.
  • People who exercise regularly tend to be more active and energetic throughout the day, they sleep better and are more relaxed and optimistic about themselves.

Some common benefits that exercise yields:

“You can’t control what goes on outside, but you CAN control what goes on inside.” 

  • Full Energy: Exercise gets your heart to beat faster which in turn makes your body active and gives you a boost of energy. Aerobic Exercises elevate the heart levels and increase blood circulation in the body. This results in healthy brain function and chemistry.
  • Better Sleep: Some stretching and yoga help regulate the sleep pattern. It relaxes muscles and helps one sleep better.
  • Better Memory and Cognitive skills: The endorphins released during exercise helps boost cognitive functions. It stimulates the growth of new brain cells and prevents the age-related decline.
  • Higher Self Esteem: Regular exercise is an investment in body and mind. It helps one feel good and productive about themselves.
  • Resilience Enhancement: when faced with mental, emotional and physical challenges, exercise can help one cope with those in a healthy manner.

How to exercise and enjoy at the same time?

“Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.”-Anne Wilson Schaef

The bigger challenge is finding the motivation to exercise. It’s not necessary to spend hours in the gym or a park doing monotonous workouts like a robot. You can indulge in activities that you like. The key is to commit to one routine of exercise and once you start enjoying it, the time will increase automatically.

  • Working out with your friends and family can be a great motivation. Watching them sweat it out can inspire you and the familiar faces won’t let you get bored.
  • You can listen to your favourite music while doing your sets.
  • One can switch to bicycles while commuting from home to college or work.
  • You can do a few stretching exercises while watching the television.
  • One can dance to their favourite music.
  • You can reward yourself after the exercise. One extra treat for some extra efforts!
  • You can also play a sport that you like.
  • Schedule your workout at such a time when you won’t have any other distractions and will be full of energy.
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