Hey readers. Back again with another question for you. Ever think about what you could do to better impact your day mentally? I mean there are things like meditation, crafts, books, and the list goes on. Before this list becomes longer than the time it takes to travel the world by rowboat, lets reel in our topic. Let’s talk about exercise. It is a great way to add mental stability to a stressful day. It’s true that there are other methods. So, why this one you might ask?
Let’s start by looking at the facts that most people share, which is the fact that it’s a healthy option. The European Heart Journal wrote, “The benefits of exercise are irrefutable. Individuals engaging in regular exercise have a favourable cardiovascular risk profile for coronary artery disease and reduce their risk of myocardial infarction by 50%. Exercise promotes longevity of life, reduces the risk of some malignancies…”. (Sharma, S. et al., 2015) The list of physical benefits for exercise are tremendous and keeps the heart going. It’s not just the physical aspect that should be looked at though. One thing that gets glossed over by some would be the mental aspect of daily exercise.
Now, there are many forms of exercises and different benefits associated with them. We all know things such as, running helps the body with circulation. What some of you may or may not know is that there are other less strenuous exercises that can do the same thing. Let’s take Tai Chi for example. Oxford Academic shared an article from Health Promotion International that read, “Tai Chi has been widely practiced as a Chinese martial art that focuses on slow sequential movements, providing a smooth, continuous and low intensity activity. It has been promoted to improve balance and strength and to reduce falls in the elderly…” (Thornton, E. W. et al., 2004) This specific martial art has been around as early as 1100 B.C. It is still recommended and practiced today. Exercising doesn’t have to be torturous and Tai Chi is a pretty good example--especially since it benefits both younger and older generations. With activities like this passed down through the generations, it makes sense why the coined phrase “Listen to you elders.” still exists.
The confidence that can be gained from exercise is also a huge benefit. Whether your goal is to lose a few pounds or gain some muscle, exercise can help you feel good. There is nothing better than being able to watch yourself grow as you meet goals that you set for yourself. Take into consideration those who choose to run. They set goals of being able to run 2 miles a day. This is simply one of the many examples of personal goals. Being able to make a goal like this and achieve it boosts self esteem, which is an essential part of your mental health.
The biggest plus about exercise is the ability to fight depression. Taylor & Francis Shared an article that read, “There is evidence that exercise protects against depression and is an effective intervention and adjunctive intervention for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Exercise provides some health and psychological benefits as an adjunct to treatment in complex mental health problems such as alcohol and drug rehabilitation.” (Donaghy, 2009) With the pandemic still affecting day to day life, it’s always good to have an arsenal of activities to fight off depression. Why not add exercise to the list?
Henry N. Williford, Betty R. Barfield, Ramona B. Lazenby, Michele Scharff Olson, A survey of physicians' attitudes and practices related to exercise promotion, Preventive Medicine, Volume 21, Issue 5,1992,Pages 630-636,ISSN 0091-7435, https://doi.org/10.1016/0091-7435(92)90070-X Available at:<http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/009174359290070X>
Everard W. Thornton, Kevin S. Sykes, Wai K. Tang, Health benefits of Tai Chi exercise: improved balance and blood pressure in middle-aged women, Health Promotion International, Volume 19, Issue 1, March 2004, Pages 33–38, https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dah105 Available at:<https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/19/1/33/782090>