“The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
Our bodies could be easily split up in two: the physical and the mental. However, despite the distinction between the two, they both work together. In fact, a fully functional body constitutes both a healthy physique and a harmonious mind. In the words of Ward Beecher, only a piano that is in good order can produce enchanting music, and if applied to the body, this means that a happy mind can only be achieved once the body is functioning properly. And exercise is surely one way to achieve this. But why?
Science says so
Although very often the apparent sole benefit of exercise is weight loss, this barely scratches the surface. Time spent working out releases endorphins in the brain which will automatically relieve you from stress, lift your mood and automatically make you feel better. Dubbed as the natural pain killers, endorphins are present in the brain and once the chemical is released, it could have morphine-like effects. Moreover, such chemicals benefit both your skin and your immune system. Studies also show that exercise leads to the growth of neurons in the area which helps regulate anxiety, apart from delaying the natural shrinking of the brain, another muscle that naturally deteriorates with age and disuse.
The benefits are unanimous
Whatever your age and fitness level are, the benefits are as valid for you as they are for anyone else. You do not need to be a successful marathoner to start relishing them. Even a simple walk or a swim could build up enough tension to release endorphins. Just remember that whoever wants to climb the ladder must first begin at the bottom.
It’s the natural elixir
Life is stressful, we all know it, and the remedies promoted to alleviate this are many, with medications at the forefront. However, all medications have side effects, and some of them lead to chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Moreover, the main psychiatric medication used to manage psychosis (antipsychotics) is also associated with significant weight gain and involuntary movement disorders; ironically aggravating the plight of those who ended up relying on them in the first place. In contrast, exercise is said to minimise depressive symptoms; reduce anxiety sensitivity and make you work smarter, and all this is caused by a simple chemical that is already in your brain! Powerful body we have, isn’t it?
It allows you to be in control
It’s all about sweating and increasing force really, but at your own pace. You could start by 10 minutes a day and extend it by how much you feel like. You are in total control here! In fact you can split a 40 minute workout in two, three, or four periods, which can be either continuous or scattered along the day, because when taken together, all of them will contribute to the full benefits of a forty minute workout, with no omissions. Plainly, the more you work out and the less you pause, the higher the number of endorphins released!
It’s another social experience
Working out could be the perfect excuse to build up new relationships and hang out with your favourite peers. It is also the time for shared goals, which can indirectly boost your morale, set higher expectations and help you achieve more. Also, being accompanied by others is believed to actually develop someone’s pain tolerance and improve endurance.
Results are immediate and visible
All in all, the results of exercise are indisputable and pretty noticeable. Improvements in sleep, stamina, cardiovascular fitness, mood swings and self-confidence can induce a positive effect all over your networks. Once you get into the culture of exercise, all connections with your family, co-workers, friends and lovers could see plentiful of benefits you might have just been missing out inadvertently. There are no excuses, so hang in there and keep pushing!
© 2016 – VIDA Magazine – Clifford Jo Żahra