Mental And Emotional Health Needs Physical Activity Too

Although we usually think of strength and fitness as being a physical thing it does also apply to our mental and emotional health as well. When we have this complete type of health we can reach our own full potential as an individual, can work productively and cope with the normal stresses of daily life without falling to pieces and needing drugs to prop us up.
Yet we have to do more than just wish for good mental and emotional health and now it is being recognized that all three aspects of health – physical, mental and emotional are closely linked. What affects one affects the others as well.
Our modern and inactive world has removed anything that even resembles muscular ‘work’ from our lives. Our bodies no longer have the mechanism to keep themselves healthy. We can see from the statistics that two thirds of the developed worlds population is now overweight and 50 percent of us have a chronic ‘lifestyle’ disease. Many people have multiple conditions that downgrade their health and vitality.
Among these conditions is mental illness that is also growing at a rate that outstrips the disease burden caused by all cancers so it is a very real threat. It already accounts for more than 15 percent of all disease costs and by 2020 it has been predicted to be the second highest cause of death and disability in our world.
Technology that pushes us along at a fast pace does not help as the ‘busyness’ and speed at which we are supposed to function and react also can cause us stress and anxiety. We absorb and process more information in one day than our ancestors did in an entire lifetime. We often forget that we need down-time to dissipate and counter this stress, busyness and pressure.
One way we can get this stress relief is to work our physical body so that the benefits filter through our entire being. Our brain is the central control unit for our body and we forget about its health usually focusing on what is below the neck as needing our attention.
We all know about the health benefits of exercise to our physical body – stronger muscles, bones and joints, weight control, better blood sugar regulation and disease risk reduction but most of us are unaware that there are huge health benefits for our mental well-being as well.
Taking some time out for 2-3 sessions of proper strength training exercise each week to work the muscular system through its ranges of movement is also soothing and calming to the mind. Generating feeling of happiness, energy, and well-being through getting your blood pumping around the body and muscles is the best tonic there is for feelings of stress or ‘feeling blue’.
Take advantage of the body’s natural feel good endorphins and painkillers to keep calm and centered and make the most out of your lot in life. We each have to take care of our own mental and emotional health so we do not become one of the four people affected by mental health problems somewhere in their lifetime.