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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Dieting Your Way Through Flatter Abs

 

Source: goodhousekeeping.com

 

The Dangers of Belly Fat

 

We often complain because we can’t get rid of our love handles or beer bellies, or just simply put our belly fat. For men and women alike, the belly is one of the most critical parts that need to be worked on because it does make a difference physically. However, belly fat needs to be reduced or eliminated not only for cosmetic reasons but for health reasons as well.

 

The bad news is, belly fat poses a risk for serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, dementia, and even cancer. Let’s keep in mind that our bellies are just below some of the most vital organs in our body – the lungs, the liver, and the heart.

 

Our belief, on the other hand, that exercises like sit-ups and doing a hundred crunches a day, isn’t really the way to flatter abs. It is more about how and what we eat that mostly matters. Thus, dieting plays a major role in fighting off that visceral fat and keeping ourselves fit and healthy.

 

Great Diet Tips and Habits for Flat Abs

 

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  • Cucumbers
  • Bananas
  • Lentils
  • Papaya
  • Fennel
  • Chili peppers

 

  • Keep it whole. Consuming whole grain carbohydrates actually helps you lose the weight. Studies showed that refined sugar and other processed foods resulted in the production of more fat in the mid-abdominal region. The belief that carbohydrate is the enemy is truly a misconception, as whole grain carbs like oats, quinoa, brown rice, and barley are an abundant source of fiber which helps in digestion and metabolism and consequently, to flatter abs.

 

  • Ginger calms and slims. Ginger has a lot of known benefits but it turns out that the roots help slim down the belly. For many decades, adults have utilized ginger as a cure for bloating and for weight management. Individuals who have regularly been drinking ginger tea attest that they feel fuller when they have a cup even before meals.

 

  • Meditate to get rid of anxiety. Anxiety is known to increase cortisol, the body’s stress hormone which contributes to the increase in our body’s fat, including fat in the abdominal region. Getting into some kind of healthy and relaxing routine such as meditation, yoga, or simply breathing exercises can tremendously help alleviate anxiety and other negative emotions that trigger the increase of cortisol. These practices also keep the body fit and rejuvenated.

 

  • Planking, not sit-ups, works your abs effectively. Planking is one of the most effective core strengthening exercises that is recommended for a stronger and flatter belly. It is considered a full body exercise since it also engages the trunk, arm, leg, butt, and back muscles. To give the usual planking an oomph, bow your head down so that your chin points to your toes while you’re squeezing your belly.

 

Final Thoughts

 

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Indeed, you won’t get that six-pack abs with just sitting down and eating potato chips or pizza for dinner. It takes some effort and discipline in terms of your usual activities and the usual food you eat. Definitely, making peace with food and knowing what to put in that body would go a long way to a flatter belly and a healthier you.

The Link Between Sugar And Depression

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Sugar and depression have been suspected as interconnected for a long time now. It is said to be one of the most guaranteed cures for depression – eat a candy and you’ll feel good! But now, with the emergence of scientific studies on how bad sugar can be for the body, can it really make you feel good?

 

Mood Disorders Are Triggered By Excess Consumption Of Simple Sugars

There you have it. The feeling of hunger makes you naturally miserable, bad-tempered, and irritable. This is the natural reaction of our brain and moods, both positively and negatively. According to Britain’s Brain Bio Centre, there is a clear link between a person’s mood and blood sugar balance. In fact, poor blood sugar balance is considered one of the major causes of mood disorders.

 

“Fluctuations in blood sugar also can change your mood. High blood sugar often can lead to irritability, while low blood sugar can bring about feelings of anxiety, depression and lethargy,” wrote Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP.

 

Sugar in the body must be balanced because it is an important component of a healthy diet. It is usually extracted from the fruits and vegetables’ complex carbohydrates so many think that it’s okay to over-consume. This is the problem in most Western diets.

 

Today, people get their carbohydrates from carbohydrates in processed food like:

 

  • White bread (Other baked goods)
  • Candy
  • Soda
  • Pasta

 

These processed foods have artificial sugar added to them. The sugars replace the important nutrients and vitamins for both mental and physical health, which can be harmful to the body.

 

The Evidence That Sugar Can Cause Depression Is Strong

 

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There are lots of studies showing sugar to be depression’s risk factor. According to a study conducted in 2002 that involves Canada, Germany, New Zealand, France, South Korea, and the U.S., sugar consumption is directly linked to the high rate of major depression in these six nations.

 

A similar study comprised of 3,456 middle-aged adults showed the following results:

 

58% who ate processed foods has increased depression risk

26% who ate whole foods has reduced depression risk

 

In another study that includes 8,000 people over 22 years – their diets were tracked, as well as the results of these diets. It showed that people who ate over 67 grams of sugar daily are 23% more likely to be depressed than those who ate 40 grams and less.

 

“The sugar and depression correlation surfaced during the first five-year survey (early on in the study) and continued as a significant correlation throughout the life of the study,” wrote Mary C. Wiley, PsyD.

 

And finally, another study that involves 70,000 postmenopausal women showed that those with higher glycemic index scores consumed a lot of refined grains and added sugars. This later leads to increased risk in depression.

 

All of these studies point towards one thing – people who consume processed foods (lots of salt and sugar) are the ones who are at most risk of depression. Having a hypoglycemic reaction when the blood sugar is low will make the body realign its entire chemistry by sending out stress hormones. This leads to the feeling of anxiety and lower moods.

 

“I like to tell my patients there’s a truth to the saying, ‘You are what you eat,’” said psychologist Deborah Serani, PsyD. “High levels of sugar in the form of simple carbohydrates leads to spikes and crashes in glucose levels, which can worsen mood, increase irritability, agitation, irregular sleeping, and increase inflammation.”

 

Empty Calories Are Replacing Important Nutrients

 

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Empty calories are the factors that link simple sugars to depression. These calories replace the body’s nutrients, but also deplete the ones that are already in the brain, especially the B-vitamins and chromium. They are also responsible and related to the following:

 

  • Mental Health Disorders
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia
  • Cardiovascular Disease

 

Diets involving high sugar affects the body in a way that it is not able to remove stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. It doesn’t include nutrients that can help with these hormones. On the other hand, diets involving fewer simple sugars help in providing protection against dementia and depression.

If you want to avoid depression, the best option is to reduce its risk factors and one factor you can watch out for is sugar consumption. Instead of turning to sweets when you feel troublesome, go to BetterHelp instead. That will allow you to get to the bottom of everything instantly.

Couple Workout Can Be An Alternative To Marriage Counseling

 

Do you often see couples looking so in love? It’s quite fascinating how they maintain their relationship despite the years passing. After all, it is a common fact that the honeymoon stage weans and plateaus into the ordinary course of everyday life. Experts believe that one of the secrets to a successful marriage or relationship is doing something together or sharing a particular interest or hobby.

The best example of this is working out or exercising together. The benefits of physical fitness are already highly emphasized and backed up by countless recommendations and research, but by doing it along with a partner or spouse, the synergistic effect is impressive.

Lisa Chapin, MA, NCC, LPCC, wrote, “With all the things that pull couples apart, health and fitness should not be one of them. Finding an exercise program that a couple can do together can have many physical, mental, and emotional benefits for the overall health of the relationship.

BetterHelp counselors have also compiled their observations on couples who work out together. The results were very promising in terms of maintaining a happy and contented relationship. 

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Hitting Two Birds With One Stone 

Juggling marriage life is no easy feat despite how good you are in prioritizing and managing time. Allotting date nights every week is easier said than done. Working out together is a productive timesaver since it addresses the daily amount of suggested exercise as well as spending quality time with your partner.

These routine activities might sound trivial in sustaining a marriage but in the long run, the consistency and the time spent will result to good memories and a strong foundation for the relationship and might even spare you from going to marriage counseling.

“When you’re sweating it out at the gym together, your partner is experiencing you as being strong and fit. Consequently, when they may want to try rock climbing or go paragliding, they naturally think of you,” said Rhonda Milrad, LCSW. “You two now find yourselves creating lots of meaningful memories, bonding over common passions and setting the tone for a fun, spicy relationship.”

More Fun With Sex 

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When you exercise, the body releases the happy hormone called endorphins. And the good news about endorphins is that they are responsible for boosting one’s sex drive. It is the body’s natural narcotic, and the euphoric rush felt during a workout can also promote an increase in sex drive and self-confidence.  

So, you do the math and let us know if we are not telling the truth. 

Having A Friend And A Competitor 

Are you starting to feel the sparks dwindling? Do you think that your relationship needs a tad bit excitement? Are your daily lives starting to feel monotonous? A healthy challenge for you and your partner can add playfulness and healthy competition in your relationship. With the demands of handling career and the household, it is common to feel that you are changing both as a person and as a couple.

Being playful and flirtatious would be the last thing on your mind. This can be remedied by trying a sport together or working out under the environment of friendly competition. Challenge your spouse to a sprint race or who gets the fastest time in the circuit workout. Make sure that there is a prize or incentive just to spice things up!

Accountable To Your Partner 

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“When partners care about fitness—their own and their partner’s—it becomes easier to achieve fitness goals,” wrote Theresa DiDonato Ph.D.

Experts say that exercising with a buddy or partner often leads to successful goals. This is because someone is looking out for you concerning your workout sessions. Somebody will call you out when you are unmotivated on your workout or somebody will confront you when you are skipping gym nights for Netflix. A study done by Prevention Magazine concluded that 94% of couples who work out together stuck to their workout plan. Make your partner accountable and vice versa. 

Every relationship has its flaws. It’s not all summer time and spring fever for the two of you. The point of doing things together as a couple from time to time will allow each other to feel and stay connected while staying healthy. You both have a purpose of ensuring that you not only feel physically healthy but also achieve a mental wellness of having a stable and happy relationship. 

Psychiatry & Exercise: Maintaining Sanity While Working Out With A Significant Other

 

While numerous articles and experts are recommending finding a workout buddy to achieve those fitness inspiration goals, just in time for summer, there are some instances where having a gym buddy becomes troublesome. According to research, for couples and those in a relationship, the most logical option for a gym partner is their significant other, spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.

Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, said, “When you start working out together as a couple, you’re viewed as a go-to person for other outdoor, strenuous activities.”

study published by Annals of Behavior Medicine revealed that exercising with a partner can double your performance. Another study conducted by Indiana University revealed that performing physical fitness with a spouse or partner will help you stay with the workout plan, with only 8 percent of the participants with exercise buddy quitting in comparison to 50 percent of participants who exercise without their partners or spouses.

 

Source: commons.wikimedia.org

“Exercise helps produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, and improve our ability to sleep, decrease overall levels of tension, and also elevate and stabilize mood,” wrote Lisa Chapin, MA, NCC, LPCC. “When we exercise we feel better about ourselves, more confident and less stressed; in turn, we show up healthier in our relationship and our daily interactions with our partner.”

In psychiatry and general medicine, exercise is proven beneficial for the mind and body.  The statistics are very significant and excellent motivation to highly consider working together.

“Even if you already feel competent doing a particular exercise, bringing along your romantic partner may be a fantastic way to boost your energy output,” wrote Theresa DiDonato, Ph.D. “Your partner’s presence will improve your speed, without you necessarily being aware of their influence.”

For some individuals who are used to exercise alone, exercising with a spouse can be difficult for them, more so if they have instilled in their minds that exercising is tagged as “me” time. For others, gym time is an emotional experience for them and would highly doubt that working out together would be beneficial for their relationship or that of the gym environment. Before taking the plunge and signing up for gym membership together or training for a marathon together, go over ground rules for working out together to avoid unnecessary quarrels and fights. 

 

Don’t Be A Personal Trainer 

Showing support and assistance to workouts you are familiar with is helpful but be cautious of the fine line between being supportive and being a know-it-all. Don’t be highly critical of his/her form and progression. Don’t be too naggy and guise into a personal trainer persona.  

 

Be Open-Minded In Trying Out New Workouts  

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Before, you and your partner work out separately because you both have a different preference in your workout. He likes CrossFit, and she adores yoga. How do you find a middle ground where your individual choice is not compromised? Well, compromise is necessary to make it work, and both individuals should make a sacrifice. For instance, if your boyfriend loves Cross Fit and biking, and you haven’t tried this before, then maybe it is an excellent time to try these activities. You trying out his regimen might also prompt him to finally say yes to the yoga class you’re harassing him about.  

 

Planning Is Still Necessary  

Frequently, disappointments and fights stem out from unmet expectations. It is essential to plan workouts and to talk about it beforehand. For example, you and your partner showed up in the gym with different workouts in mind. He wanted to lift weights, and you wanted to talk while doing the treadmill. You and your partner both have expectations. When there are unexpected and forced changes in the scenario, frustration and disappointments come out. To prevent this unnecessary drama, talk it out before coming to the gym or try online counseling through BetterHelp together.

 

Be Kind  

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Don’t criticize or tease someone if they can’t keep up or are unable to perform certain poses. Nobody wants an exercise buddy who gives out hurtful comments or body shaming or saying unpleasant remarks in the guise of humor most especially coming from a partner or spouse. 

Feeling Brokenhearted? Try Exercising

 

Feeling broken-hearted after a breakup or at worst after being friend zoned is such a tremendous emotional pain to some individuals. It will leave you feeling lifeless and unwanted, as doubt starts to take over leaving questions if you deserve to be hurt after all. Your insecurities will also start to come out one by one, and this could sometimes lead to isolation, dragging your whole body to stay in bed and do nothing because you think that no matter what you do, you are still broken hearted.

“When your brain conceptualizes that your partner is no longer with you, grief sets in,” said therapist Travis McNulty, LMHC. “Your mind no longer releases the feel-good chemicals (oxytocin and dopamine) that it once released every time you saw this person.”

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Version 2.0 of Yourself 

I also had my fair share of the excruciating pain of a breakup, wherein I got depressed to the point of telling myself that I am not that good looking enough to be loved by someone or maybe weighing 60 kilos is not lovable at all. Total self-destructive thoughts made me feel so low, and at the same time frustrated. Despite the pain, I have no one to vent out my feelings with. During that time, all I know was I needed to have an outlet for the pain I was dealing with because anytime soon I could reach my breaking point.   

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“Stressful life events, like a break-up, produce a variety of depressive-like symptoms that can be difficult to manage,” said Theresa DiDonato, Ph.D. “While exercise may do little to curb your feelings of stress, the physical activity may buffer your depressive symptoms—an important step towards recovery.”

Then I started doing some exercise routine as my catharsis. I started doing morning runs from a lame 1-kilometer to an overwhelming 10-kilometers run at least three times a week. Surprisingly, day by day I felt better as I started to see my old self slowly coming back to life. I began to lose weight and felt lighter. I was happy with the result of my morning runs.

Licensed counselor and professor Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., wrote, “The best way to stop dwelling on heartache is to throw yourself into activities that keep you busy and engaged in the world. Research shows that one of the best self-help treatments for depression is physical exercise. Exercise produces endorphins and serotonin, which both promote a positive outlook.”

While engrossed in my running, I realized that I shouldn’t be doing such a thing because I was trying to let go of the pain. Instead, I should be doing that for myself. It was a blessing in disguise that this break up occurred because I have come to realize that I should love myself even more. That time, all I know was that I need to lose weight to improve my appearance and retaliation for getting hurt. However, I was wrong. I realized that I should be doing this for myself, and not for anyone else. I thought I was healing my heart, but I was recovering and giving myself what it truly deserves, which is self-love and respect.  

It’s Only The Beginning 

Running has helped me feel better about myself, as soon as started losing weight; I tried learning Muay Thai and started to play badminton again. That made me feel happy because aside from losing 10kilos, my happiness got back in full swing. Also, I was no longer thinking of getting back to the person who broke my heart because I realized that I gained more than losing him.  

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Making me whole again is more than enough. I am thankful that I did not give up on myself and gave myself a second chance. I am grateful that I turned into exercise than letting myself suffer in pain, which I do not deserve at all; because the value of my life is worth more than any pain that I might experience. Now, I am already backed in shape – physically and emotionally. I can finally say that I am a better version of myself because I chose to love myself instead of mending my broken heart.