Fitness, Weight Loss and the Mind & Body ConnectionPosted: Jul 26 in Weight Management Strategies by Dr. Lazarus
Exercise enhances blood circulation, stimulates metabolism and burns fat, but these are not the only benefits of engaging in physical activity. Exercising regularly can help you lose weight, and so these physical benefits often outshine the many mental benefits that are associated with physical exertion. The medical weight loss process is about more than improving physical appearance through weight loss; it is a process of engaging with and improving one’s health—mentally and physically.
You may already be aware of the ways that exercise can boost your weight loss efforts by toning muscle and burning calories. However, many people are less aware of the ways exercise helps us mentally and emotionally:
- Exercise increases endorphin production: Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced throughout the body that encourage feelings of happiness and pleasure while reducing the sensation of pain.
- Exercise reduces stress: This is partially thanks to the production of endorphins, and partially thanks to the often meditative qualities of physical activity. Exercising can clear your mind of worries and help you gain new perspective on an issue.
- Exercise may prevent cognitive decline: Multiple studies have found that exercising regularly improves brain health, especially in regions of the brain associated with memory and learning.
Attitude plays a significant role in the fitness process. When you are dreading a workout, following through with your workout plans becomes a challenge. Staying engaged in your workout and pushing yourself to work harder might be even less likely. Looking at exercise as a way to mentally rejuvenate yourself after a long day may help you become more interested and consistent in your workout routine.
Fitness can become a tool to de-stress and rejuvenate yourself mentally and emotionally. By staying present and keeping a positive attitude, you can make fitness a rewarding experience.
It is too easy to look ahead to what comes next. How many miles have you walked on a treadmill while pondering what is for dinner or a proposal for work? While a great way to multitask, this won’t help you get the most out of your workout physically or mentally. Being in the here and now can help you break past barriers and experience the greatest benefits from your exercise routine.
To really benefit from exercise mentally, it helps to take part in an activity you enjoy, in an environment you enjoy being in. This might mean taking long, brisk walks at a local park outside, or heading to the gym for an aerobics class. Find a workout that you enjoy and give it your all!