Exercising and Well-being

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Benefits of Exercising on Our Mental Well-being

It is no surprise that in general people are becoming more health conscious, and are looking after their well-being, and not just physically, but mentally also. We hear it all the time that exercising is good for us, but what is that really mean? We obviously exercise to keep fit, but I think it is important to look past that and to really understand the benefits of exercise on our overall well-being. Does exercising actually boosts our brains’ happy chemicals?

Research shows Yes!

1. Exercise helps with combating depression. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Any kind of physical activity causes our brain to release these chemicals in a greater amount, and so we feel better mentally. Regular exercise has been proven to:

Reduce stress
Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
Boost self-esteem
Improve sleep

Also, depressed adults have been proven to become better with a regular exercise, compare to adults who just rely on medications.

2. Exercise helps with our day to day productivity, I am sure there is no surprise there. A study was done to test the productivity of employees at work. The study discovered that employees who were incorporating exercise in their daily routines were more productive compared to those who didn’t exercise. Also the study showed that subjects that were active (like exercised few times a week) appeared to be calmer, and showed more patience and understanding towards their work colleagues.

3. Exercise also helps with creating new brain cells. Any sort of workout whether it is going for a run or doing your aerobic activity in general has been linked to creating new brain cells. Running gives birth to some neurons. As it was noted, (Click here) adults continue to grow new brains when they learn a new activity. A new review of the scientific literature, published in the journal of Trends in Cognitive Science, tells us that new cells can grow in the hippocampus, which is an area in the brain that is linked to memory and learning. So exercise has shown to help us grow new cells in that part of our brain. The literature also points out that sex and mating have also shown to grow new brain cells, in case you were wondering.

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4. Exercise also, as we know, improves our confidence and body image. Research indicates that a change in our diet, as well as including regular exercise routines have a positive impact on our body image.
5. It improves our overall strength and functionality- it is also linked to improving our memory and focus. Our brain changes in response to our environment, so when we learn something new, which involves something physical, it automatically changes the pattern of our brain. Study shows that when students are given a test after a 20 minute walk, their test scores improves by 10 percent.

What are some of the ways that help you stay active? What do you do for staying mentally fit?

I’ve constantly struggled with staying on top of my workouts. But I am aware of my problem, and as they say the first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. In my next blog I will share what I do to stay active; and share tips on the importance of making small goals.

For more juicy stuff on health and exercise, click the link below.

Shawn Stevenson

How to Improve our Quality of Life and Productivity

7-Habits-of-a-Healthy-LifestyleFollowing from my last blog, which was about motivation, goal setting and dreams, this week I want to address the impact of healthy diet on our overall well-being. How to improve the quality of our lives and productivity? With so much going on in our lives, such as dealing with school, work and family life, sometimes we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. We start to take our body and mind for granted. What we should be really doing is focusing on ourselves first and foremost.
There is no magic to a healthy living. This is what worked for me, and I hope it does for you too.

  • Eating healthy
  • Exercise regularly
  • Peace of mind
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Meditation

healthy-lifestyle

Eating healthy involves consuming more fruits, vegetables and less fatty foods. Cutting down on the  carbohydrates or having it less than you normally would. Things that have worked for me in the past include:

  •  Green tea– it stimulates the body’s metabolism and can also suppress the absorption of fat. And drinking it daily aids in weight loss.
  • Olive oil has many benefits; the main benefit is that it lowers the bad cholesterol and raises the good cholesterol.
  • LemonTry drinking lemon water as it is refreshing and has Vitamin C. It is best to reduce your intake of sugar, no pop, alcohol or canned fruit drinks!
  • And lastly, Chicken is the best way to lose weight. This white meat is less fat, making it a good source of meat protein.

Exercise – I can’t stress enough the importance of exercising and its endless benefits. You don’t have to go to the gym to be able to do your exercise, simply by being active such as joining a sports club, a good walk, jog, and yoga does the job. I have personally gained a lot of benefits from doing yoga during my undergraduate years. It helped in maintaining my weight, reduced stress, and calms my mind.

And yes drink plenty of water—8 glasses of water is what the doctors suggest, and five to six glasses are fine too for starters. Keep a bottle of water in your purse, bag pack, in your car, so that it is easily reachable. -And make sure you have a glass of water every morning before breakfast as it helps in reducing weight.

Lastly, meditation helps with our mental well-being; it improves concentration levels and helps us to stay better focused in achieving our goals. Spare some time for yourself only. And spend time alone with yourself, where you can reflect on the past events and daily activities.

Some factors that are important for maintaining well-being include:

  • good interpersonal relationships – a supportive relationship with at least one person – having good social support, good family relationships
  • connectedness – having friends and social/cultural networks within the community
  • purpose – having meaningful activity in life such as work, academic, sporting and spiritual pursuits

Next week’s topic will cover the importance of having a positive frame of mind until then stay tuned!

click here for healthy eating and foods for a flat belly.