Health Insights: Exercising for a sound mind

Asunta Simoloka

Asunta Simoloka

By Asunta Simoloka

Like the body, the human mind is designed to thrive on exercise.

Inactivity creates a hostile environment that keeps the human mind from functioning optimally.

Joging

Joging

Exercise is the ultimate mood booster that stimulates production of feel-good hormones known as endorphins while suppressing the secretion of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

Given this ideal balance of hormones, the mind functions properly and is able to cope with stress, ward off depression, and ease anxiety while instilling relaxation and calmness.

Inactivity, on the other hand, triggers over production of stress hormones while restricting supply of endorphins, creating an imbalance that impairs the mind’s capability to handle stress and increases susceptibility to irritability, agitation, and anxiety attacks.   When this imbalance becomes severe and stays that way for a long time, the mind becomes vulnerable to even more serious problems like depression.

Increasingly, health practitioners are recommending exercise for treating depression and their explanation is simple.  Lack of exercise, an underlying reason for depression, is abnormal for the human mind because exercise is an important component of the mind’s natural habitat.  Restoring mental health therefore involves putting the mind back in to its natural setting by increasing the amount of exercise.  Scientific evidence shows that exercise may outperform anti-depressant medications for restoring mental health in people suffering from depression.

In the workplace, people who are chronically deskbound perform way below potential because sitting for too long diminishes mental function.  Exercise is also an extremely powerful tool for improving sleep, a vital factor for achieving mental wellbeing.

Exercise is a wonder drug that boosts confidence, improves self esteem, generates enthusiasm, and infuses positive energy for succeeding in different areas.  People who exercise are more likely to be happy, stay motivated, and have a positive outlook on life.

bicycling

bicycling

dancing

dancing

All forms of exercise boost mental health, however, cardio exercise such as running, jogging, bicycling, kick boxing, dancing, and brisk walking and mind-body exercises including yoga, pilates, and tai chi seem to confer the greatest benefits.
If you are limited by a physical disability, finding exercises that work best for your situation is advisable.

Healthy living tip

Bad genes alone rarely cause disease; unhealthy habits trigger bad genes to behave badly