Keep Exercising for a Healthy Body and Peace of Mind!

Unless you’re from another planet, you’re most likely aware of the vast physiological benefits of regular exercise. Nowadays, in these troubled, upside down times regular exercise is more vital than ever before! Lower blood sugar, manageable cholesterol levels, decreased body fat, increased muscle mass and better flexibility head up the list of advantages to keeping fit. Many recent studies have now focused upon the psychological improvements of being fit.

According to Richard Norris, PhD at the University of Birmingham in England, the psychological and physiological benefits of exercise begin early. In several studies, 200 adolescents were put through a ten week fitness training regime. Besides the evident physical improvements, subjects also reported less anxiety, depression, hostility and stress after regular exercise. Further studies on other populations reported that regular exercise also quickens the mind’s ability to process information, improves memory and retention, and sharpens the decision making processes. This awesome mind-body connection is nothing short of amazing! 

In my twelve years of working with clients in the gym, I’ve found that perhaps the best mental effect of keeping fit is the sense of accomplishment it brings. For most people, getting to the gym is a chore. Once there, it can be tough to muster the strength to work out on a regimented basis. Yet when a person starts exercising regularly (even just 20 minutes per day!) it doesn’t take long to feel and see the wonderful changes that begin to take place in the human body. Exercising early in the day, or for that matter, anytime during the day gives a feeling like you’ve just completed something that’s good for you. While it may not be possible these days to swim at the beach or workout at your local gym, there are tons of fun ways to stay active and vibrant. Power walk out in the fresh air and sunshine, do calisthenics in the backyard with your favorite tunes blasting, walk the dog around the neighborhood as you wave and check on neighbors. 

For people who deal with depression, anxiety and other stress related disorders, exercise is truly a must under regular conditions. These days it’s even more essential to get up, get out and stay active. Physical activities like weight training (with your own weights at home), hiking, yoga, Pilates, swimming and even walking release powerful feel-good chemicals in the body called endorphins and enkephalins. These hormones counteract the fatigue, aches, and pains and bad feelings caused by other stress and worry. So you see, exercise not only helps you to keep it together physically, it helps you to cope mentally as well.

This is a trying time for all of us. But if we are cautious, sensible and take care of ourselves we will come through this wiser, stronger and healthier! For now, wash your hands constantly, practice respectful and caring social distancing, eat well, and stay active. After all, it’s Springtime here in South Florida and our weather is unbeatable.

Tom Bonanti is a certified personal trainer and massage therapist (MA 40288) with his own one on one facility in Ft. Lauderdale. Contact with questions or to set up a free consultation.