How To Use Exercise And Physical Activity In Mental Disorders

 

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How To Use Exercise And Physical Activity In Mental Disorders

There are one in three Americans who will experience anxiety disorders sooner or later. Typical anxiety-associated mental health disorders include panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder. There is significant proof that exercise can effectively treat anxiety disorders with severe and longstanding effects. In fact, even in the non-clinical setting, physical activity has been proven to decrease anxiety symptoms. Evidence gathered from epidemiological research shows that individuals who engage in exercise are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

Positive Effects Of Exercise On Anxiety

One session of aerobic exercise can produce a potent anxiolytic effect. In a study done in 2015, 40 participants were randomly instructed to finish 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and 30 minutes of stretching activities. After the study, those who finished doing the aerobic exercise solely, without stretching, had a substantial decrease in anxiety and increased stress tolerance. Heightened anxiety sensitivity levels are liked to form and preserve anxiety disorders, especially the participants who had body focus. Hence, exercise seems to be a favorable intervention with instant effects.

Exercises For Managing Anxiety Symptoms

The calming effects of regular physical activity have been observed in several experiments. Noteworthy questions include ‘do various anxiety disorders react to various types of exercise?’ and ‘what type of exercise is most beneficial for decreasing anxiety?’

Proof addressing these queries is equally regulated. There is surging support for the concept that people with panic disorders can profit from aerobic exercise like jogging, specifically as an add-on to psychological treatments. A 2000 study tested the efficacy of resistance and aerobic exercise to manage generalized anxiety disorder and discovered that the participants had the same declines in anxiety following six weeks of intervention. When exercise level was focused, it was found that numerous RCTs have shown a benefit of moderate to intense level compared to low-intensity exercises on alleviating anxiety symptoms.

Thus, an impartial conclusion can be made that exercise seems to be beneficial for anxiety. However, more information is required to identify which type of exercise and what level is most suitable for each personal condition.

Effects Of Exercise On Psychosis

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Individuals who are diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis have symptoms that include delusions and hallucinations. Primary psychiatric management for schizophrenia are antipsychotics, which are somehow effective at dealing with delusions and hallucinations. However, it is not very effective at dealing with negative symptoms like emotional rigidity, metabolic syndrome, behavioral withdrawal, and anhedonia. Antipsychotics are also linked to side effects that include lipid irregularities, metabolic syndrome, and weight gain, among others. Because of this, compliance with medications is frequently poor.

An increasing research body backs the use of exercise regimens to improve basic management and improve the negative indications in individuals with schizophrenia. Another study was published regarding a review that considers the efficacy of physical therapy interventions for treating schizophrenia. The review was composed of 13 randomized trials that represented 550 participants. Particularly, it reviewed studies that involved aerobic exercises, body awareness strategies, relaxation training, strength exercises, or a combination of all activities. The outcomes clearly indicate that yoga, aerobic, and strength training decrease psychiatric symptoms while enhancing one’s quality of life.

The reviewers established that there is presently adequate scientific proof to confirm that aerobic exercises diminishes negative indications and augments cardiorespiratory fitness.

Exercises For Managing Addiction

There is sufficient evidence to imply that acute exercise involvement can decrease cravings, lessen triggers in heavy tobacco smokers. Exercise can also help people fight their desire to use other illicit substances like psychoactive drugs, alcohol, or high-energy foods. Evidence backing the impact of exercise for individuals with alcoholic problems seems to be varied. Still, the reviewers concluded that physical activity does not seem to decrease alcohol consumption but has substantial positive effects on other health-related outcomes, such as physical fitness and depression.

Exercise For Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder

Individuals with ADHD present symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention and are frequently treated with psychosocial therapy in conjunction with medications. It is among the most commonly diagnosed neurodevelopmental diseases in school-aged kids, with a global occurrence rate of more than 5%. Medications are most effective at enhancing behavioral symptoms, productivity, and cognitive functioning, although related side effects like mood shifts and sleep problems.

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In 2016, a meta-analysis was published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, which explored the impact of physical activity on kids who met standards for ADHD. Several studies involving 300 participants were part of the analyses, covering an average age of 9.3 years old. There was a difference in outcomes between participants with no-exercise conditions and those who performed mild to moderate forms of physical activity.

The primary collective evidence suggests that short-term to moderate aerobic physical activity based on numerous aerobic formats appears to be effective for alleviating symptoms like hyperactivity, anxiety, social disorders in ADHD kids, executive function, and impulsivity.

 

 

Exercise Body, Exercise Mind

 

Exercise is a remarkable instrument for augmenting physical and mental wellbeing and is a potent evidence-based treatment regimen for most mental health disorders.

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Exercise is a remarkable instrument for augmenting physical and mental wellbeing and is a potent evidence-based treatment regimen for most mental health disorders. Sadly, many people do not meet the suggested target of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly, and rates of physical activity in individuals with mental health disorders are even below the average. This implies that driving patients to exercise is a prized therapeutic ability. In this article, we will present evidence relating to exercise and mental health and provide simple techniques that you can do to encourage people to become regularly active.

Physical Activity And Exercise

Physical activity can be defined as a type of movement elicited by a person’s muscles; Exercise is described as a controlled physical activity intended to produce positive health-related outcomes. Exercise is classified according to the type of activity or the purpose of its health-related outcomes. For instance, resistance exercises increase muscular endurance and strength by using resistance while performing the motions. On the other hand, aerobic exercises entail the body’s respiratory system by working over a prolonged period of time at a decreased intensity.

Exercise On The Body And Mind

Exercise has been linked to positivity and wellness mentally and physically.

Exercise Is Linked To Increased Self-Confidence.

Individuals who engage in regular exercise have a higher likelihood of gaining more self-confidence, enhanced body image, and increased physical self-value. Exercise also showed that it is indirectly and directly related to self-esteem and supported as a supplemental remedy for adults with low self-confidence.

It Decreases The Risk Of Death. Having a sedentary lifestyle is said to cause almost 10% of untimely deaths. In the United States, studies have revealed that women and men above 50 who altered their physical activity state from sedentary to active have seen a remarkable positive change, including an increase in life expectancy.

It Boosts One’s Energy. Research has proven that he will experience decreased fatigue and increased energy levels when a person increases his physical activity. The previous meta-analysis revealed that participation in vigorous exercise improves feelings of vigor. Numerous randomized clinical trials have shown that increased physical activity causes an equal rise in self-observed energy.

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It Is Related To Enhanced Brain Functions. Physical activity is proven to have a healthy connection to cognitive function. Exercise has also been discovered to augment concentration, decrease irritability levels, and could slow down the decline in mobility and equilibrium in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

It Helps Improve Sleep. Several types of exercise are beneficial for inducing better sleep. Exercise is recommended as a substitute form of treatment for individuals who have abnormal sleeping patterns. Studies also seem to support that exercising four hours before heading to bed is ideal for better sleep quality. Doing exercises at different times of the day also appears to be useful as well.

It Decreases The Probability Of Illness. Routine physical activity is very much related to a lowered risk of several medical health illnesses like stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Frequently, these benefits appear when there are no weight modifications; hence, clients who are making little movement in attaining their weight loss aspirations must be reminded of the serious effects that exercises can do on their physical and mental health.

Exercise For Mental Health Disorders

Regular physical activity has been explored as both an individual regimen and as a component of a thorough treatment package for different mental health disorders. When studies are examined, the proof for initiating exercise as a regimen for those suffering from mental health disorders is mostly reassuring. Here we will talk about the impact of exercise on some mental health conditions, including depression.

On Depression

Depression is a mental illness that basically manifests as having mood changes and lowered interest in previously enjoyed things. Depression is the most prominent cause of incapacity globally, with about 300 million people affected worldwide. MDD or major depressive disorder involves chronic physical illnesses, overtime hours at work, and an increased risk of dropping out of school. Even if there are available treatments for depression that are equally effective, only very few seek professional help.

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The impact that depression can have on our lives is quite frustrating, not to mention the large amount of money needed to manage the disorder. It is reassuring that research and studies constantly consider physical activity and other forms of exercise to be a very potent treatment and supplement for managing depression, with a scale of impact to be the same as other recognized types of treatment like medications and cognitive behavioral therapy.

An extra advantage of people who engage in exercise is that exercise is not related to the side effects and cessation problems linked to antidepressant medications. Finally, it is not as expensive as counseling or psychotherapy.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About What We Can Learn From Evolutionary Psychologists

For many centuries, the human body has evolved to adapt to and survive in its environment. And as humans’ physical realm evolved, so did the human brain. Have you ever wondered how our ancestors thought and reason in their time?

Evolutionary psychology is a field of psychology focused on studying how the human mind evolved to survive. It states that what shaped human personality and individual differences in the natural need to adapt and reproduce.

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Evolutionary psychology’s history started when Charles Darwin got interested in the theory of evolution. His curiosity how organisms emerge, evolve, and tend to be so well-suited in their natural habitats.

With this, the theory of evolution via natural selection was his conclusion to all questions. 

To begin, here are some critical concepts in evolutionary psychology:

The body’s automatic response to a perceived threat is where you either face it or run from it. This situation can either be a physical danger or a stressful circumstance.

During a situation like this, the body is on high alert. It manifests through faster heart rate, tensing of muscle, cold sweating, etc.

  • Kin Selection 

This theory states that humans’ conscious or unconscious genetic relatedness influences behavior. Hence, we favor our blood relatives over strangers.

At the same time, we back our immediate relatives over distant relatives. In essence, this is to ensure that our genes will survive through or immediate kins’ survival.

  • Reproductive fitness 

It is the measure of reproductive success along with environmental adaptation. For instance, men or women will act a particular way to increase the odds of reproduction.

  • Parental Investment 

There is a difference in the way parents invest energy and resources in their offspring. Meaning, the sex that supports more (usual females) focuses on mate quality. On the other hand, the sex that invests less (usually males) seeks quantity.

But in today’s world, how exactly do evolutionary psychologists apply this approach in their practice? To give an example, here are some notable topics studied in modern evolutionary psychology:

  • Romantic and sexual jealousy. These links to the fear of jeopardizing potential reproduction
  • Group social behavior, wherein, as humans, we’re accustomed to living among smaller groups.

For more in-depth information, here are some frequently asked questions on this topic.

 Who is the founder of evolutionary psychology?

Charles Darwin most probably deserves to be referred to as the founder of evolutionary psychology, being the first recognized evolutionary psychologist. His theories laid the foundation for the area of study that would arise after over a century.

Why is evolutionary psychology important?

Evolutional psychology is as important as neuropsychology – and they are equally compatible as well. Evolutionary psychology helps in identifying psychological adaptations and their fundamental evolutionary functions.

Neuropsychology, on the other hand, helps in identifying the immediate presentations of these adaptations.

How does evolutionary psychology explain human behavior?

According to the records from evolutionary psychology, our ancestors with the psychological edge handed down a range of behavioral attributes to the future generation. This resulted in a general population of descendants that then developed adaptive behaviors.

Is evolutionary psychology scientific?

As most witnesses have claimed, evolutionary psychology is mainly based on assumptions instead of evidence. Because of this, it is controversial whether or not it should be recognized as something scientific.

What are the principles of evolutionary psychology?

The main principles of the theory of evolution include:

  • More children are born than they can survive.
  • Individuals of the same species are not identical.
  • Traits are handed down from generation to generation.
  • Only those who survive, those who are capable of acquiring resources, get to reproduce.

What is the focus of evolutionary psychology?

Briefly speaking, evolutional psychology is mainly about how evolution has formed an individual’s mind and behavior. This is valid for any species with a nervous system, although most research in evolutionary psychology focuses on human beings.

How do you become an evolutionary psychologist?

It is typically required to get a doctor’s degree in psychology, or perhaps a discipline related to it like biological anthropology or evolutionary biology, to start a career in evolutionary psychology.

Why is evolutionary psychology criticized?

A common statement said about evolutionary psychology is the fact that its assumptions and concepts are not refutable.

For instance, one concept states that humans’ social behavior is funneled by certainly evolved predilections chosen because they boosted reproductive attainment throughout the history of human evolution.

What are the three main criticisms of evolutionary psychology?

The three frequent criticisms about evolutionary psychologists are that they:

  • Absolve humans from being responsible for their sexual behaviors
  • Begin with an effect and then work backward toward an explanation
  • Do not acknowledge cultural and social influences
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What are the basic concepts of evolutionary perspective?

The three fundamental principles of evolution, which emerged in 1970, are heredity, differential fitness, and variation. They continue to be the conceptual foundation for the evolutionary theory through natural selection.

Where do evolutionary psychologists believe people get their behavior patterns?

Evolutionary psychologists suggest that individuals acquire behavioral patterns from adaptive organisms as they transmit their genes to future generations.

Where do evolutionary psychologists work?

Most evolutionary psychologists concentrate exclusively on research. Institutes, state or federal agencies, private laboratories, or research facilities may hire them. Research tends to center around biological subjects like physical attraction and reproductive methods.

Where can I study evolutionary psychology?

Below are some locations where to study evolutionary psychology:

  • Michigan State University
  • Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada
  • Integrative Anthropological Sciences, Department of Anthropology
  • The University of Michigan Evolution and Human Adaptation Program
  • Developmental and Evolutionary Psychology, Department of Psychological Brain Sciences

What is the evolutionary perspective?

Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical psychological approach that tries to explain useful psychological and mental traits – language, memory, and perception – as adaptations.

Conclusion

In many ways, evolutionary psychology integrates the paradigms of both social and biological sciences.

Evolutionary psychologists believe that our ancestors’ evolutionary adaptation continues to shape our behavior today. To understand behavior, these psychologists trace its genetic and socially influenced roots.

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While many criticisms are surrounding the field, we can’t deny the contributions of evolutionary psychology. With their knowledge and expertise, evolutionary psychologists contributed significant learnings.

For example, it paved the way to understand that the best way to change a behavior is to understand its mechanisms. And these mechanisms are best understood by studying our history. 

Moreover, many refer to evolutionary psychology as something regressive, deterministic, or even sexist and racist. However, evolutionary psychologists think otherwise.

For them, studying our evolutionary past helps uncover some necessary facts. It reveals how both desirable and undesirable human characteristics came and continue to be.

Evolutionary psychologists stress that their approach ushers in and causes the discovery of new facts. This is contrary to being established later to fit a known fact.

To further understand the field, here are some key ideas and arguments of evolutionary psychology:

  • The cognitive mechanism behind our behavior developed from our adaptation.
  • Because it’s impossible to study it directly by observing the brain, it uses functional analysis. Here, we start with a hypothesis about our ancestors’ problems and infer which cognitive adaptations occurred to address them.
  • Cognitive adaptations are not to solve problems in our current environment. Instead, these adaptations are for solving recurrent issues of our ancestors’ adaptive evolution.
  • The human mind is a complex set of cognitive mechanisms or domain-specific modules. These modules define human nature, trumping our individual, societal, and cultural differences.

In essence, evolutionary psychology revolves around finding the link between language, memory, perception, and adaptation.

Ultimately, it aims to uncover the human mind’s evolutionary roots. Knowing this shapes our thinking and behavior and applies the appropriate adaptive changes to our lives.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Be A Therapist

A healthy body is important in avoiding chronic diseases. Moreover, it allows an individual to enjoy a full quality of life. However, good health does not come overnight. It is a healthy lifestyle product through regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and good sleeping habits.

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But as much as it is important to care for the physical body, it is likewise necessary to look after the mental health. For this aspect, especially for serious conditions, it can be nearly impossible to recover without external help. Thus, therapists exist.

Therapists are licensed professionals dedicated to helping people achieve wellness, peace of mind, and rehabilitation. Sometimes called counselors, these professionals are an essential part healthcare system. They take responsibility for an individual’s mental state.

Becoming a licensed therapist requires having both a bachelor’s degree and a post-graduate one. The bachelor’s degree should be in programs specific to psychology, health therapy, or rehabilitation sciences.

Being an area-specific therapist, however, is a different story. Most of the therapists with specialization undergo further education. Through that, they gain more knowledge about the respective fields and specialties.

In most cases, health institutions provide or require training for aspiring therapists before hiring them.

To provide help in all possible ways, therapists practice in a wide range of themes and areas.

Dance Movement Therapy (DMT)

Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) strives to help individuals obtain physical, emotional, and psychosocial wellness. Therapists in this field use movements and dance to help manage stress and alleviate some mental health conditions’ psychosocial effects.

It also tries to alleviate chronic fatigue and facilitating weight loss for overweight and obese individuals.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy is a contemporary therapy style that uses art interpretation and aesthetics to help soothe a client’s overarching mental or emotional state. These professionals must have a comprehensive definition and understanding of different art mediums.

Mental Health Therapist

Mental Health Therapist is a professional dedicated to improving the mental health and emotional state of an individual.

Also known as psychotherapists, MHTs usually begin by assessing their client’s probable illness. After that, they provide a corresponding psychotherapeutic measure that might include activities that can ease distress.

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a therapist, better check these handy FAQs to identify what type of therapist suits you!

What is dance therapy used for?

Dance therapy is a tool for minimizing stress, preventing disease, and mitigating mood. It can also be beneficial for mental and physical health.

Dance therapy strives to help individuals obtain physical, emotional, and social integration. Generally, it encourages self-awareness. It also fosters the expression of feelings in a safe environment.

How is dance therapy different from regular dancing?

Dance therapy focuses on the movements, including breath, postures, and gestures. Micro and macro movements within the treatment are forms of communication.

It also aims to create a change in behavior and thought process by changing body movements. Dance class primarily emphasizes the dance form or dance routine to uplift mood and provide health benefits.

What education and training are required to be a therapist?

The first step you must take to become a therapist is to earn a bachelor’s degree. It must be related to the therapy field. Typically, it takes four years. After that, you must take a master’s degree. Some people also take a higher level, which is the doctorate.

What training is required to be an art therapist?

To be an art therapist, an individual must earn a master’s degree in art therapy. If not, counseling or any field inclined to art therapy.

Furthermore, you need to accomplish the required curriculum. Pursuing art therapy also requires an internship or practicum. The requirement is 700 hours under professionals’ supervision.

What degree do you need to be a dance therapist?

It requires an undergraduate and master’s degrees. It should relate to the therapy field to be a dance therapist. Moreover, it should pass the qualifications of the American Dance Therapy Association. There is also advanced training that must be ADTA approved.

Is a counselor the same as a therapist?

No. There is a difference between a counselor and a therapist’s tasks. Usually, counseling can be more short-term as compared to treatment. Psychotherapy also focuses on a vast range of issues. There can also be a difference in the degrees taken by the counselor and therapies.

How much education does a counselor need?

Counselors must have an undergraduate degree related to the psychology or therapy field. Taking a course inclined with those fields can be more beneficial if you want to pursue a master’s degree. For some jobs, you might need a master’s degree to begin the practice.

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Is being an art therapist a good job?

Yes, being an art therapist can be satisfying and fulfilling work. For some, seeing their client’s transformation through art therapy is a fulfillment. By calming their feelings through art, you can change their behavior and communicate with them.

Perfect if you have a passion for artistic expression and the improvement of other people’s well-being.

Do you need to be good at art to be an art therapist?

Being an art therapist requires a strong and in-depth understanding of visual art. There are various art forms, such as painting and sculpting. With that, the art therapist must have experience with different art mediums. Through this, they can guide the client in a creative method.

How do you become an expressive art therapist?

You will need a master’s degree in counseling. It should focus on expressive arts therapy from an approved and the authorized university. Some institutions provide studies or programs in expressive arts to utilize in coaching and consulting.

What major does a therapist need?

To become a therapist, you must need to accomplish a bachelor’s degree. You will also need to start formal training in graduate school. Having a major in social work or psychology can be an advantage in graduate school.

What kind of therapist can I be?

There are various types of therapists in the industry. A mental health professional can help with a specific mental health concern. There are therapies dedicated to intimate, familial, and personal development.

Moreover, there are more types of treatment for different kinds of problems. Learning what interests you can help determine what kind of therapists you want to be in the future.

How do I become a mental health therapist?

To become a mental health therapist, you must earn a bachelor’s degree in the therapy field. Before practicing therapy, you must have a master’s degree or even a doctorate. Additionally, they require clinical experience with a supervised engagement with clients.

What are the 3 types of counseling?

In a myriad of specialty areas in counseling, there are three primary types. These are school and career counseling, mental health counseling, and substance abuse counseling.

What are the 3 types of therapy?

There are many therapy types. But the three known forms are

  1. Psychodynamic therapy,
  2. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, and
  3. Humanistic therapy.

The difference between the three therapy types is their approach to treating their clients.

Conclusion

Being a therapist is a great job with a lot of personal and social benefits. There might be plenty of educational requirements, but these are necessary to ensure that individuals get the best possible help. 

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Therapists have different working locations available. A business or a private company usually entails a bigger monetary advantage and benefits. Another favored working option would be the Therapeutics division at established clinics and hospitals.

Make sure to look for a working environment that best suits your values and lifestyle to avoid disinterest and eventual burnout.

Also, do not confuse therapists with counselors, as they actually differ in some factors.

Therapists usually have a broader service to emulate spiritual and emotional assistance to clients for a longer duration. If you are planning to have faster and immediate advice, you better go for counselors instead.

Counselors provide you relief and a plan of action in dealing with some of your basic rages in emotion, such as anger. Meanwhile, therapists do more and usually deal with cases of occasional or prevailing anger issues.

The latter can provide better health if coping with mental health conditions that generally persist for a longer time.

We hope that this article helped you better understand the steps needed to become a therapist. Knowing the different types of therapists and what they do, we hope you find one that suits you. 

Helping someone deal with their mental health condition will surely not be a walk in the park. For the most part, it might even seem to be an uphill battle. But with hard work and patience, the role of a therapist is surely rewarding.

After all, nothing beats the satisfaction of helping someone while doing your passion.

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.

woman stretching
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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.

Source: pixabay.com

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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Source: pixabay.com

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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Source: pixabay.com

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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Source: pixabay.com

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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Source: pixabay.com

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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Source: rawpixel.com

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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Source: rawpixel.com

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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Source: rawpixel.com

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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Source: rawpixel.com

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!

The Link Between Sugar And Depression

Source: bebrainfit.com

 

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

 

Source: nymag.com

 

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

 

Source: 2012books.lardbucket.org

 

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.