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"Prioritizing Health: Is Your Mental or Physical Health More Important?"

Updated: Feb 29



A direct answer is that they are both vitally and equally essential to creating a balanced life. However, With the mental and physical state of many Americans today it is a challenging question to answer linearly, however, let's attempt to target this question in a way that will benefit everyone. Now when we think of mental health, commonly the focus is on individuals who have diagnosed conditions that have been determined by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other medical professional. Indeed, anyone with a diagnosed mental health condition is likely to require some form of formal or nontraditional treatment to live their best life. Now let us take a moment and look at the general population in America. Millions of Americans are riddled with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-esteem issues, and other conditions that may not be formally diagnosed.


Without formal treatment will physical fitness help them with their undiagnosed conditions? Or even more so will physical fitness help those with diagnosed conditions? I would argue that mental health should never be ignored and as such one of the best ways to start working on your mind is to start working on your body first. When considering the pressures that are put on people to fit in with society, to be successful, and achieve their ultimate goals, it is no surprise that often we get caught up in thinking that we are unable to achieve what top performers have. This in turn can trick us into thinking there is no point in working on our fitness, because what is the point if you will never be a professional athlete, or be on the cover of a magazine? This is where we need to leverage our mental strength and realize that fitness is the key to our achievement and not the anchor holding us back.


 

  1. Mood Enhancement: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress levels. Engaging in exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a jog, or a workout session, these activities can positively impact your emotional well-being12.

  2. Reduced Risk of Depression: Research indicates that exercise can reduce the risk of major depression. For instance, running for just 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour has been associated with a decreased risk of developing depression. The more you move, the better your odds of maintaining good mental health1.

  3. Causal Connection: Scientists have explored the relationship between physical activity and depression. Using a technique called Mendelian randomization, they found that exercise independently reduces the risk of depression. Objective measures (such as tracking devices) were more accurate in assessing movement than self-reported data. So, when you replace sitting with activities like running or brisk walking, you’re making a positive impact on your emotional well-being1.

  4. Brain Chemistry: Exercise affects brain chemistry by reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increasing dopamine and other endorphins. These changes create a chemical environment in the brain that supports better emotional regulation. Essentially, less cortisol and more dopamine make it easier for you to manage your emotions3.


 


Let us focus on the individual who is riddled with anxiety and as a result, is not able to build strong connections with others. Now let us take it further, if their anxiety cripples them when going to speak to people they do not know then they avoid going to public places, such as the gym or even the park. They do not have many friends, do not like to go to the grocery store, and prefer ordering out. Now who can help these individuals feel more confident about themselves and get them on their journey to building meaningful connections and deep relationships? We can certainly encourage them to seek counseling and provide them will all of the research on how anxiety is normal and how it can be overcome with mental strength and determination. While this would not be wrong, let us take another approach and connect them to a personal trainer, even one that offers online coaching to help reduce their initial anxiety and fear of being judged or embarrassed in public.


Now, let us move forward two months, and our anxious individual has now been working out 3-5 times a week and is ordering delivery from the grocery store rather than their local roulette of restaurants. They now have improved confidence from their muscle development and weight loss, while increased energy from their balanced diet. With these changes, they are now interested in showing the world their results and starting to make new connections away from their computer screens. The fact is that fitness is a starting point for anyone who wants to start improving their life and while it is not a substitute for treating mental health issues, it is absolutely a supplemental and essential tool. If you want to start your fitness journey and can use some support, contact us today and start a free consultation. Let’s Go!!











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Becky Kolb
Becky Kolb
01 de mar.

After completely reading this post I’m finding myself in some of the examples! I hide behind my diagnosed condition and am really ready to make my move forward. No joke how crippling some things I live with are and it has to stop keeping a hold on me. Thank you and I can’t wait to see improvements in myself!

Curtir
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