According to Harvard Health, 25% of population report experiencing high levels of stress and another 50% point to moderate levels due to dozen, potentially hundreds of cases from the weather to the economy to personal situations. Based on a study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, people cope by talking to friends and family (18%), sleeping (17%), watching movies or TV (14%), as well as eating (14%) and listening to music (13%). As the poet Alexander Pope said: “strength of mind is exercise, not rest”. Let’s examine five strategies to bring about that strength, through regular conditioning.
The metabolic benefits of exercise add up to a mental boost and aerobic performance that have a neuro-chemical basis. As exercise reduces the body’s stress hormones, it also stimulates endorphin production, thus offering a double benefit that should be sought early on in the day. Therefore, bathing the brain in positivity will complement the body’s natural energy burning activities throughout the day and raise our spirits longer than when we leave physical conditioning until late in the day, when our energy stores are low and the body is more tired, or busier with other activities such as digestion.
Have you ever seen someone go through the motions on a universal machine or simply sleepwalk through a workout?! Just as it is clear that the benefits of superficial execution are limited, so is the fact that planning each set is crucial to avoiding wasting our time with ineffective activities. The busy mind is a mind preoccupied with the stresses of the day and cannot help the body fully reap the benefits of exercise. By visualizing your goal(s), you will experience better execution and even the contraction of your muscle. Without the added stress of anticipating the impending effort, we can enjoy the exercise and indulge in more rhythmic activities from a simple stroll to a more vigorous run. Think of it as muscular meditation!
As a matter of fact, there is no shortage of excuses, challenges and problems. There is always a constraint, and that is why we are here as fitness professionals. We are here to compensate for negativity, physical limitations, time constraints and inclement weather. We are here to help you see your way through the completion of a workout. Our personal trainers and fitness instructors have been trained to work with you through different challenges you might have in order to accomplish your goals. The only thing you – as a health/fitness seeker – need to do is to show them enthusiasm and commitment towards reaching your goals!
Physical exercise means placing a stress on your body. Do it right and it reduces the stress on your mind. Do it wrong and your health is at risk. To fuel the body’s ability to support that chain of positive effect, you simply need to keep it hydrated and well rested. This is simply put, easily followed but also often neglected. Drink sufficiently by keeping a bottle handy, whether you are at work or at the gym. Your body and mind will thank you!
You do not need to get “all Zen” to enjoy a productive workout. Remember to seek comfort, avoid distractions and interruptions and have the right mental attitude to make the most out of the time you spend on yourself. Anticipate challenges, plan for success and enjoy your achievements. It will train your brain to get into the zone, experience mindfulness, stay positive and crave the accomplishment of each and every session.
“YOU WILL NEVER GET ANY MORE OUT OF LIFE THAN YOU EXPECT”
“SO EXPECT TO GET A LOT OUT OF LIFE!”
YWCA Fitness on 25th is a coed facility providing a range of fitness experiences in a welcoming environment to achieve your individual health and fitness goals. Watch for the next WYCA wellness article on our website blog and social media channels.
By Nima Nazemi
Source: Claudiu Popa, canfitpro, Jan/Feb 2017, p. 36