This catch phrase of the Roman poet Juvenal remains relevant today. Indeed, if a person is healthy physically then a person is usually healthy emotionally and mentally! AMC Psychiatrist, Olena Zhabenko writes about the importance of a healthy body.
Being physically fit effects us in three unique ways:
1) Physical exercise stimulates the release of chemicals in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin, thereby improving the function of nerve cells, which in turn, improves our mood and thoughts;
2) Exercise stimulates «the brain-derived neurotrophic factor» that helps brain cells grow and develop;
3) Physical exercise reduces the risk of adverse changes in the brain as a result of stress.
In the SMILE study (Standard Medical Intervention and LongTerm Exercise), the influence of physical activity was compared with drug therapy (an antidepressant for example) and how both influence good mood or positivity. As a result, it was concluded that physical exercise (30 minutes, 3 times per week) is a highly effective treatment for anxiety, as much more than the designated medication.
Furthermore, it is noted in the same study that physical activity provides such positive social effects as the expansion of social relations, the development of positive thinking, increased self-esteem, improved academic performance, quality of sleep and overall general focus.
And if like many of us, you do not currently have sufficient physical activity, it’s never too late to start! Even minor changes can improve your mental well-being and raise your self-esteem.
Finally, in choosing your physical activity remember to do what you like; you should enjoy the exercise. Try to learn something new, take on a new hobby. Gardening, for example, not only increases your physical activity but is interesting to learn. And, if at all possible create a competitive nature within your exercise, either between another or within yourself. It may help provide an incentive for self-improvement. But most of all and not least, have fun! You deserve it.