Shaping Your Body And Mind

Issue 100

Firstly I would like to congratulate Mike and his team on reaching 100 Editions!

Exercise is not just about shaping your body it’s also about nurturing your mind. The huge connection between physical activity and mental health has been extensively researched and validated, the benefits of exercise extend way beyond just physical fitness. In fact, the positive impact on mental health is so significant that bringing exercise into your daily routine becomes not just a suggestion, but a real necessity for your overall health and wellbeing.

One of the most immediate effects of exercise on mental health is its ability to alleviate stress and anxiety. The endorphins act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, effectively reducing stress levels and promoting a sense of well-being. Moreover, exercise serves as a distraction, shifting your focus away from worries and negative thoughts, allowing you to gain perspective and clarity.

Regular exercise is also a strong antidote to depression. Studies have shown that those who maintain an active lifestyle are less likely to experience symptoms of depression compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle..

Regular exercise has also been linked to improved memory, sharper focus, and faster processing speed. It also reduces the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases, preserving brain health well into old age.

Exercise also fosters self-awareness and body appreciation, helping you develop a positive self image and greater self confidence, also the social aspect of exercise, such as group classes or team sports, provides opportunities for social interaction and support promoting better self-esteem.

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the mental health benefits of exercise, many people still fail to recognise how important it is. One reason for this oversight may be the thought process that exercise is solely for physical fitness or weight loss. Our often hyper focus on outward appearances often overshadows the huge impact of exercise on mental health. Our busy lifestyles and other priorities, I feel, deter many from prioritising exercise viewing it as an extra, rather than a necessity.

Of course some may struggle with motivation or lack the knowledge to incorporate exercise into their daily routine effectively. The perceived barriers, such as time constraints or financial limitations, can push some away from engaging in regular physical exercise. Additionally, mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety can leave many with little energy and motivation, making it challenging to initiate or sustain an exercise regimen.

Overcoming these barriers is essential, as the benefits of exercise for mental health are too significant to ignore. It may take a big mindset shift to establish new habits but by incorporating simple activities like walking or stretching into your daily routine but gradually increasing intensity and duration as you build momentum can be life changing. Seek support from friends, family, or professionals if needed, and explore different forms of exercise to find what brings you that joy and fulfilment.


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