How Physical Fitness Improves Mental Health

There are many advantages to having a healthy body. If you are physically fit, you are less prone to chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. However, physical activity affects not only your physical health, but it also benefits your mental well-being. Here are some of the ways your physical fitness can improve your mental health.

It Improves Sleep

Exercise helps regulate your circadian rhythm, adjusting your body in favor of a healthier sleeping pattern. Also, a good workout routine increases the heat in the body, which adds a calming effect to the brain. 

Meanwhile, moderate aerobic exercises help improve your deep sleep. Slow-wave sleep or deep sleep facilitates the revitalization of your body and brain. It is best to schedule your workout routine at a time, not too close to bedtime. But since not everyone has the same response, observe your body to achieve optimal results.

It Reduces Stress

Exercise can be a form of meditation and a coping mechanism. You can take time off a stressful day at work by doing some high-intensity cardio. You can also refine your physical and mental state by doing breathing exercises.

Not only can physical activity manage stress, but it can also reduce stress. The sense of fulfillment you feel after executing a routine is due to the released endorphins, your brain’s happy hormone. 

High-intensity activities, such as running or biking, and less intense aerobic exercises like yoga, can undoubtedly increase your endorphin levels. With regular exercise, the constant release of endorphins can lighten up your mood, which will help you steer clear from stress. 

Exercise can also fight off stress hormones, such as adrenaline. The adrenaline is responsible for the body’s flight-or-fight response when experiencing stress—doing regular physical activities reduces your body’s adrenaline levels by utilizing it as you go on with your routine.

It Boosts Self-Esteem

Achieving your body goals will surely boost your self-esteem. As you progress through your fitness journey, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, mainly because being physically fit also aids weight management. 

Most chronic diseases have diverse causes, including genetics. However, a sound body can keep your mind at ease, knowing you are safe from chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. 

Aside from increased fulfillment and decreased worry, you may also start feeling more motivated. The discipline you’ve developed throughout your rigorous training will provide you with a sense of mastery and control. Before you know it, you’ll start believing in yourself more.

It Improves Brain Function

The physical effects of exercise also affect your brain. Stretching and other aerobic exercises enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your mind and muscles. Better delivery of nutrients increases neurohormones, improving the nerves’ growth, connection, and communication in your nervous system.

Recent studies have also found a relationship between exercise and neurogenesis (the creation of new neurons) in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for memory cognition, learning, and emotion regulation. With a boosted hippocampus, your brain can have better control over your memory and emotions.

A simple jogging session can already help boost your creativity and other brain functions. These improvements also help you avoid cognitive losses in the long run.

It Helps Complementary To Antidepressants

An increase in the volume of the hippocampus has also been one of the targeted responses of antidepressants. Because of this, some mental health professionals also suggest physical fitness as an additional treatment option complementary to medication and therapy. Recent studies have also correlated higher remission rates to a treatment combination of exercise and medication.

The released endorphins after physical activity also help you maintain hormones, keeping your mind happy and content. Studies have also reported how people who are more physically active are less likely to be depressed.

Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise is not only what constitutes a physically fit person. It would help if you also had nutritious and balanced meals to help your body achieve and maintain fitness. Drinking enough water, eating just the right amount of protein and carbohydrates, and cutting junk food will help you achieve a healthy body.

Fitness involves a healthy lifestyle. Don’t just rely on your intense workouts for physical activity. Instead, incorporate simple changes into your daily routine. Walk to a nearby shop instead of driving your car. Take the stairs instead of the elevator in small buildings. Park your car farther from entrances to increase your walked steps. These changes may be minimal but will surely increase your endurance and tolerance to physical activities.

Choosing A Routine

The road to physical fitness is long and challenging. Be sure to start small, from aerobic exercises like yoga and walking. Once your body has adapted, level up your routine with running, biking, or swimming. Be careful to progress gradually to help your body adjust accordingly.

Physical fitness comes with improved sleep, boosted self-esteem, enhanced brain function, and reduced stress and depression. However, all these benefits would prove ineffective if you are following the wrong routine. Different body types and different lifestyles yield different results. Avoid comparing yourself with others. Instead, consult with a professional fitness trainer to determine which physical activities are best for your body and mind. A personalized exercise routine promotes individuality and at the same time, achieves optimal results.

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Creating A Healthy Eating Plan For Your Family

Creating a healthy eating plan for your family is a tremendous task for all the moms and dads. Kids can become picky eaters, and parents are susceptible to eating unhealthy food due to the stress of work and life. A growing body of research has also identified a strong link between poor food choices and mental health. 

According to Gary L. Wenk Ph.D., “The sufficiency of nutrition in a child’s early formative years may have long-term effects on the brain. As the shrinkage of the brain actually begins in young adulthood, any subtle influence of diet could start early and develop over a period of several decades. Certainly, diet is vital to brain growth and function throughout the entire human lifespan.”

Know The Nutrients That Matter

Our bodies cannot produce all the essential nutrients to live a long and healthy life. There are a total of six nutrients that we need to learn more about to create the best eating plan for your family.

1. Vitamins

Good vision, normal cell function, overall growth and development, white teeth, and healthy skin are all results of the vitamins we consume. Vitamins play several vital roles in keeping our body in top condition and must be considered when creating a healthy eating plan for your family. There are a handful of vitamins that can be produced by the body, but most essential vitamins have to come from that food we eat.

2. Minerals

Minerals are multi-functional. They take care of several aspects of our healthy bodies by ensuring our bones, muscles, heart, and brain are in a good state. It is essential to consider that all minerals work hand-in-hand, but there are a few crucial minerals that carry out specific functions. Calcium improves bone integrity, Iron aids in the transport of oxygen to vital areas of the body, and Zinc bolsters your immune system, fighting off dangerous viruses and infections. 

3. Protein

It is a highly-touted nutrient, especially when building muscles or working out, and rightfully so. Protein, known mainly as the building block of muscles, is utilized in the body for several functions, including repairing tissues. Enzymes, hormones, and other substances are also produced as a result of adequate protein consumption, strengthening bones, cartilage, skin, and blood.

4. Fats

Fats, in controlled amounts, are an essential component of a healthful eating plan. Essential fatty acids are one of the substances that the body cannot produce by itself. Several vitamins, such as Vitamins A (for vision and immune response) and D (for strong bones), are fat-soluble, which means they can only be taken advantage of if the body has a sufficient amount of fat. Make sure to distinguish between the two.

5. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the best sources of fuel our body needs to carry out daily tasks. This kind of nutrient gets converted into glucose (sugar) that we burn throughout the day. We also need carbohydrates to think and focus, as our brains require this fuel to carry out complex functions.

6. Water

Water is so necessary and underrated that most people forget that this is arguably an essential nutrient to take regularly. Water serves as the delivery system that carries all cells throughout the body and oxygen to the brain. Without water, we would not be able to convert minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and other substances into useful forms. Water also doubles as a cleaning mechanism, flushing out unnecessary substances, toxins, and waste. Lack of water will lead to dehydration and may result in pains such as headaches, lethargy, and constipation.

Steps To Creating A Sustainable Eating Plan

Everyone is busy. The parents have work and a child to raise. The kids have school. The teens and young adults may have jobs as well. The household life is pretty hectic if you think about it. Because of this universal fact, consider the tips below to create the most efficient and effective eating plan for your family.

1. Gather Every Member Of The Household

It is vital to have a sit-down with every member of the family to align the goals and reasons behind entering into a family eating plan. Aside from general weight loss and healthier living milestones, get into more specific discussions about why you want to join this challenge.

2. Remove All Unhealthy Food Options At Home

This is one of the most essential starting steps. Get rid of everything unnecessary. Temptations will lead to failure. Make it easier for everyone by eliminating all the junk. 

3. Make Commitments

Having a family member fall off the wagon will wreak havoc on the overall direction of your family eating plan. Make sure that everyone is committed to the cause. We recommend that everyone writes down their commitments, including duration, limitations, and reasons. Put it in an area of the house that would make the note most visible. The family eating plan will succeed if everyone is on the same boat.

4. Prioritize Variety

Keep the household menu palatable and varied. Repetitive meals will affect the momentum of a family eating plan in the long run. Do some research and check for alternative foods that can provide the right amount of nutrients. 

Choose Food And Ingredients That Are Accessible

The best eating plan for your family boils down to how available certain items are in your locality. Several family-friendly programs are published online, but make sure that these are readily available at your nearest shopping mart or grocery store. Work on building a weekly eating plan then try to prepare in advance for the months to come.

Get To Your Healthiest Self With Your Family

Going on a diet is not an easy challenge, but make the rewards greater and easier to achieve by involving your family in your healthy eating plan. All of us need to live by safer and healthier options when it comes to nutrition. Begin your family health and wellness journey now.

 

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How To Avoid Overexercising When You Can’t Leave The House

I have done a lot of exercising ever since I heard from the news that people can no longer go out as freely as before. It was all due to the coronavirus wreaking havoc in every part of the world—the United States included. In truth, we have the most number of cases, with thousands of people testing positive every day. That’s why those of us who are still uninfected can remain that way if we stay at home.

Personally, this order has not bothered me much. I am not a people person, so I don’t miss hanging out with anyone. I have also been working from home way before the pandemic, so my bedroom doubles as my office. What saddens me is that I cannot go to the gym, which has been my favorite place since last year.

To compensate for that, I started looking up exercises that I could do at home. So, I would pedal on the stationary bike, run on the treadmill, and do some laps at the pool. I even bought a large punching bag so that I could throw boxing and kickboxing in the mix. And from the typical two-hour workout at the gym, I spent four to six hours daily for all the exercises mentioned.

In case you are wondering, no, I am not training for anything. I just figured that that’s the best way to pass the time since I had nothing else to do. But then, I became more tired than ever—a feeling that used to go away after a day of resting. My stress level went up to the point that I could not concentrate on my work. Overexercising has taken a toll on my immune system.

Now, I am not a doctor, so I cannot tell you what vitamins to take or food to eat to boost your immune system. What I can only do is share the things that I have tried to stop overexercising.

Pick Up A Non-Strenuous Hobby

The first thing you can do is pick up a hobby that does not require physical exertion. Say, why don’t you try sudoku or cross-stitch? If you are quarantining with loved ones, you can challenge them at Scrabble, Monopoly, Jenga, and other games. It will be cool if you come out of the quarantine as a guitar player.

Assuming you haven’t noticed the direction that I am trying to lead you to, your hobby can be anything that will not require you to stand up or move too much. You had done a lot of the latter when you overexercised; there’s no need for that for a while. Whether you are into board games, musical instruments, or crafts, go for it.

Redecorate The House

Some people tend to exercise a lot because they either need to lose weight or gain muscles. The former is typical for those who suffer from obesity, diabetes, and various health conditions. The latter is done by folks who have already achieved their target weight and now wish to transform the remaining excess fats into muscles.

Well, since overexercising is out of the question, you can try redecorating your house. It is the most straightforward task in the world, you see. You may push or lift heavy furniture, change the curtains, and rearrange the décor. You will sweat, yes, but you won’t put your immunity in danger.

Final Thoughts

No matter how much you dream of having muscles, you need to stop exercising too much. Doing so will make it effortless for you to catch the coronavirus, which we all want to avoid.…

Exercising For Beginners During Lockdown

I have been into fitness since 2017. I do CrossFit on Mondays and Thursdays, Pilates on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and kickboxing on Fridays and Saturdays. Considering I may not always have time for all of them, I have a mini gym at home, complete with a treadmill, a stationary bike, and some dumbbells.

How was I able to stay fit before 2017, you might ask? Honestly, I never tried any fitness program at the time. I was one of those in-denial folks who insisted on feeling like a size 6 even though they were size 16 in reality. My weight was off the charts; I would occupy two seats in buses every time.

What made me want to become fit was not the weird looks that strangers were throwing at me wherever I went. Instead, it was the fact that I developed Type II diabetes due to my obesity. The specialist thought of putting me on lifetime medication at once to regulate my blood sugar level. I took the pills bitterly for a few months until I decided to turn my life around. By 2019, I officially lost 60 lbs, and my doctor announced that I managed to kick diabetes to the curb.

How Did That Happen?

My weight loss did not happen overnight, for sure. It took years of training and learning to love my body enough to avoid ruining it with delicious yet not-so-healthy foods. My parents also helped by turning into my #1 cheerleaders, especially when I wanted to give up on my most exhausting day.

Now, if you are reading this blog, your current situation may be similar to that of my past, and you want to lose weight, too. Although it can be challenging during this lockdown, the steps that have led me to where I am now will still work for you. Here they are:

Look For Inspiration Online

Your first task is to look for some inspirational people online. I am talking about the likes of Andie Mitchell, Erika Nicole Kendall, Monica May, and other bloggers who have lost a significant amount of fats over the years. In case you are into visuals, you may follow influencers such as Sarah Dussault, John David Glaude, Jordan Shrinks, etc.

The goal is to figure out which individuals have succeeded in doing what you are trying to achieve. Many of them are very impressive, in the sense that they got rid of over 100 lbs. Some may even offer weight-loss tips on their channels, which you should keep in mind for future purposes.

Find A Program That You Want To Follow

The more you get to know such weight-loss champs, the more you can understand how they have done it. And before your search begins, I can tell you that most—if not all—of them follow a fitness program. Some may be into contact sports; others may be into individual activities.

Listening to fitness influencers talk about their routine extensively gives you a chance to know what programs attract you. This step matters because you cannot do more than a single session of an activity that you have not seen someone do and enjoy. Once you know a lot of things about it, though, you can figure out if you will try it or look for something else.

Hire An Instructor If You Can

The last thing you should do is hire an instructor for your fitness program of choice. In case money is not an issue in your household, you may check if the influencer’s instructor can accommodate you. Otherwise, you may ask the staff at a local fitness center if they can recommend an instructor to you.

Final Thoughts

I used to think that I was happy with my 200-lb self, that I did not need to lose weight at all. But I later realized that it was just me trying to convince myself of that.

You should be confident in your own skin, but you must also accept that going on a weight-loss journey is the only way to live longer. That is especially true now that there is a pandemic.

Good luck!…