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Exercise and the mind !

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  • sports-health

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear and those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.” Gautama Buddha

Considerable evidence documents the countless benefits of a sound progressive exercise program. Some of these benefits are obvious and immediate like improved level of muscle tone, a leaner body, a radiant glow and the  feeling of  a sense of accomplishment,  while others are on longer timeline like  cardiovascular diseases  , diabetes and cancer protection: etc. Many of the positive consequences of regular exercise, however, are not outwardly apparent. When considering the mind/body connection, there is definitely “more than meets the eye” for the benefits of exercise.

Physical activity has been shown to affect a person’s mental and emotional processes, both during and after exercise. While the degree to which these processes are influenced varies with the individual, type of exercise modality and specific features of the program (how long, how hard, how often), exercise can have a meaningful impact on the various facets of the mind/body connection.

Exercise increases mental clarity

Exercise increases both energy levels serotonin in the brain, which leads to improved mental clarity; Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Although serotonin is manufactured in the brain, where it performs its primary functions, but  90% of our serotonin supply is found in the digestive tract and in blood platelets. Serotonin is known to affect  mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior.

Exercise improves short term memory

In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise tends to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.

Exercise as stress reliever

Exercise produces a relaxation response that serves as a positive distraction and positive addiction. Any activity that either allows your muscles to relax like yoga  and taichi or that expends large amounts of physical energy like zumba or crossfit  will make you feel less stressed.

Exercise improves posture

Good posture results when the muscles of the body align properly, allowing for efficient movement. Many studies have shown a strong connection between good posture and measures of the respect accorded to a person, as well as their own self-confidence and sense of personal power, a recent study published in The Journal of Psychological Science in which good posture was found to have an even greater positive impact on confidence than real experiences of positions of power. Many people by  holding their breath and unconsciously contracting  their muscles in various areas of the body, thus  over time a causing chronic muscular tension starts to set in. This tension, called “armoring” by psychoanalysts is a way people compensate in the body for unexpressed emotions Those emotions can be tension  from earlier in the day, last week or many years past; we may not even remember how or why the feelings originated. In addition to muscular tension, we develop psychological and physical postures that correspond to the emotions we are trying to keep at bay. For example, pectoral muscles that are overdeveloped in relation to the rest of the body might cover a fear of being vulnerable. A posterior pelvic tilt (the pelvis tucked under) may be linked to sexual inhibition. . Studies have shown a correlation between mobility and perceived attractiveness and health. Exercise affects brain and the body  in many positive ways , thus producing  positive effect on cognitive, mental, and psychological processes, such as distraction, self-esteem and sociability

Author – Omar Patel



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