Exercise isn’t Just for Physical Health

Author Nicole Murphy CPT

When asked “why do you work out?” the top reason is to stay healthy. Everyone has their own definition of healthy- being strong, lean, high endurance, etc. This is all true but, one thing that tops the list is mental health.

The mind and body work as one fluid system, both go hand-in-hand when talking about a holistic approach.  A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more competent socially, academically, and athletically. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.

Enhanced ability to tolerate and relief stress also comes as a benefit from regular exercise. Working out is a temporary stressor to the body. This is why many common symptoms such as elevated heart rate, sweating, and increased ad reline all happen during exercise too. In day to day life if a stressor comes up the body will recognize these symptoms and be able to handle the response more efficiently. Less stress, can’t get better than that right?!

The mind is the motherboard of the body, so taking care of one part will lead to the wellbeing of the other. Small improvements in exercise levels or diet create a positive upward spiral that increases the sensitivity of the dopamine receptors that signal reward, so that exercise will eventually become rewarding, even if that seems unimaginable in the beginning. Starting will always be the hardest part, but once you get past that the benefits will start coming in!

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