By Head Coach Marcel Mandagaran
When it comes to fitness, we tend to solely think about how it affects our physical appearance. Few examples that come to mind are weight loss, muscle gain, and how the body will look. Which is great, but we tend to overlook the positive effects fitness has on our mental wellbeing.
Today about 1 out of 5 people suffer from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a response to stress within the body. Stress as we know can lead to all sorts of problems, from weight gain to chronic disease. In today’s world, the most common way to deal with anxiety or depression is through the use of medication. All this really does, is change the way you feel. It doesn’t necessarily make you feel better nor does it fix the problem. Other problems with these medications are that they could have horrible side effects that may only make things worse. It’s usually in the fine print or said in a very fast voice-over on the commercials.
Now, we know that when we exercise, our body releases chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins into the brain that make us feel good and happy. Not only does our brain dump out these wonderful “feel good” chemicals, but exercise will also help our brain get rid of chemicals that make us feel stressed and anxious. We may also notice that our mind is much clearer after a good workout. By giving our body what it needs through movement and exercise, this allows our minds to figure out what our physiological needs are. Some great side effects include, improvement in mood, proper sleep, reduction in stress and anxiety, and also fat loss. I sure do like those side effects over the Meds.
Don’t think that you need to go into some crazy gym and crush yourself to experience these positive changes in your mental state. It can be as simple as a 30 min hike out in nature. The workout really depends on your fitness level and what you enjoy doing. Maybe it’s playing tag at the park with your kids, or maybe it’s playing a game of tennis. The main thing is movement. Our bodies are designed to move and the benefits are endless when we give the body what it wants. Start slow and start with something you enjoy.
Just remember this… Anxiety is like an alarm system. Something is off. With our crazy lives, schedules and highly stressed work environments, sometimes our minds become so cluttered. But the good news is, it gives gives us a warning sign to make some changes before it shuts down, such as anxiety symptoms. The mind wants some clarity. The quickest way to clarity is through human movement. Give your mind and body what it wants.
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