Fitness is a different concept than an active lifestyle. Activity means moving around and burning calories while doing a certain task. Fitness yields much higher returns and benefits, including endurance, heart health, muscle strength and greater coordination. Exercise is connected with improved mental and physical capabilities. Learn more about the ways exercises benefits an improved mind-body connection.
Fitness and Mind-Body Connection
People who are fit demonstrate a specific advantage known for the ability to learn and retain new information. Aerobic fitness protects other cognitive functions which tend to slip with aging, such as the ability to plan, filter out distractions and speed up information processing. Many brain-boosting benefits are rooted in the genes which suggests human biology is designed for health. The body can greatly influence the mind such as when muscles are moved, it produces proteins which travel through the bloodstream and into the brain where mechanisms of highest thought are supposedly at work. Regular exercise also decreases inflammation and pain in the body as well as curbing unhealthy weight gain and cravings.
Some of the many benefits associated with exercise which also benefit the mind may include:
Lowered stress levels
A single experience of exercise can be valuable short-term therapy for tension reduction, depression, anger and confusion. A ten minute walk may yield one hour of increased energy and moderate-intensity exercise is even more beneficial than high-intensity exercise for anxiety reduction. Regular exercises increases the ability to handle stress by causing fewer stress hormones to be released when stress occurs.
People who exercise regularly show lower levels of anxiety, shyness, loneliness and hopelessness than less-active peers. Moderate, regular exercises has a positive impact on mood, vigor and psychological well-being. Animal studies show regular exercise may reduce symptoms of depression and alleviate some major depression.
Exercise is a great way to increase cerebral blood flow, increase neurotransmitter availability and efficiency and support the brain structure. Small increases in aerobic activity improve mental fitness and parts of the brain which support planning, coordinating and filtering out distracting information.
Myriad benefits support individuals who choose to exercise including healthier sleep patterns, lowered levels of fatigue and improved overall mood. The best exercises are dependent on an individual’s fitness level but it is helpful to consult with a physician before starting a fitness regimen. Walking is always great exercise for those who just want to get out and get moving to kickstart the benefits available to those who exercise.
The Villa believes exercise is an important part of a well rounded aftercare program for individuals with addiction. If you are looking for support in how to quit substance use or drinking, we can help. Call us to find out how to get started.