A Better Mind and Body
Author: Rebecca Franceschetti
There is usually a clear distinction made between the mind and the body. However, the mind and body continuously work together and greatly affect one another. Physical health can affect your mental health just as mental health can affect your physical health.
When you exercise, you stimulate your brain. During physical activity, your brain releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are released in response to physical exertion (Exercise and Depression, 2008). You may have heard the term “runner’s high.” This term is derived from the feeling that occurs when endorphins are released. Exercise helps to maintain your physical health while also enhancing your mental health by stimulating your brain and making you feel good. While it is crucial to stay physically healthy, your mental health can also affect your physical health.
Not only does physical health affect your mental health, but your mental health can also cause physical side effects. In a recent study, it was found that depression can affect a person’s lifespan. It has been linked to a 50% increase in a person’s risk of dying from cancer and a 67% increase from heart disease. (Bradley University, 2018). When people are depressed, they become disinterested in hobbies that they used to find interest in and tend to isolate themselves. This can cause them to lose interest in physical activities. Although it might be hard to motivate yourself when depressed, trying to engage in some form of physical activity will benefit you not only physically, but also mentally.
With nicer weather around the corner, try to get some fresh air and sunlight. Go for a run or walk in the park or your neighborhood. It will get your blood pumping and have you feeling better in no time.
Don’t want to run but still want a “runner’s high?” Try a circuit workout. Choose a few exercises and perform each of them for at least a minute. Take 30-second breaks in between each exercise. Here are some ideas from Fitness Magazine to get you started:
• High-Low Plank: From a forearm plank position, come up to your palms one hand at a time, making sure to alternate the leading arm.
• Squat Jack: Lower into a squat. Quickly jump your feet together and back to hip-distance apart. Continue quickly, alternating between positions, but never standing back up.
• Skaters: Begin standing, then quickly hop to the left by kicking your right leg behind your left. Then reverse the movement with left leg kicking behind right as you jump toward the right. Quickly alternate sides.
• Burpee: Start with your feet hip-width apart, then squat down and place both hands on the floor just inside your feet. Jump both feet back behind you, keeping legs straight and butt down (option here to perform a push-up). Quickly jump feet back in toward your hands, and return to standing. (Option to add a hop straight up at the end.)
• Russian Twists: In a seated position on the floor with knees bent, hovering off the ground, arms extended in front of you, twist your torso from side to side. (Dedic, 2017)
You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into long workouts to experience the positive effects of exercise. Find activities you enjoy and you will start to feel better, look better, gain confidence, and get more out of life.
Bradley University. (2018, December 18). How mental health affects physical health. Retrieved from https://onlinedegrees.bradley.edu
Exercise and Depression. (2008, May 30). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com
Dedic, J. (2017, March 30). How to Get a Runner's High Without Actually Running. Retrieved from https://www.fitnessmagazine.com
Ashleigh Diserio Consulting works with individuals and organizations, assisting them in gleaning insight into a person’s life, motivation, and past and future behavior, so certain areas of behavior can be understood with a high degree of accuracy. We provide services in the areas of criminal and intelligence investigations, management support, threat assessment, insider threat support, and education and training.