Exercising the Body Keeps the Mind Strong As Well

By: Gen Wright

Mental disorders are common and widespread in the global population with an estimated 26.2 percent of people over 18 or one in four adults affected. The burden on health and productivity throughout the world has long been underestimated as the cost of caring for people with mental health disorders is expected to sky rocket as the population ages.

The World Health Organization reveals that mental illness accounts for over 15 percent of the burden of disease in established market economies. This is more than the disease burden caused by all cancers and by 2020 will be the second highest cause of death and disability in the world.

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own full potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

Vigorous physical exercise is the body's key method of staying healthy and is crucial to mental health and fitness as well. With each new study, experts are getting a better understanding of the intimate connection between the health of the body and the health of the mind. And physical exercise - the body's key method of staying healthy - appears to be crucial to mental health, too.

Most people's idea of fitness stops at the neck and we forget that the brain is the central processing unit for all body systems and should be kept as strong and fit as the rest of our body. Everyone knows that proper exercise benefits the body physically - stronger muscles and joints, weight control, disease risk reduction etc, but many are unaware of the use of exercise for mental well-being as it is far less widely reported.

However, as research grows, the importance of physical activity in both prevention and as a therapeutic measure for mental health problems is becoming better understood and acknowledged. Physical and mental ill-health usually occurs together and, by improving one, you can also improve the other.

Modern technology with cell- phones, faxes and computers have pushed people into being expected to multitask and work at a fast pace. People today can and do absorb more information in one day than our ancestors absorbed in an entire lifetime. With our mentality of moving quicker and constantly doing things people tend to forget that down time is needed and is vital to mental health.

The most beneficial and effective way of getting this down time to reduce stress and anxiety is a proper exercise program. This program needs to contain at least 60 percent strength training exercise that will bring literally dozens of additional health benefits as well as the down or "me" time that is needed to stay centered and calm mentally and emotionally.

This type of exercise will generate feelings of happiness, well-being and an increase in energy due to the chemicals released by the brain after exercise - the body's natural painkillers and feel good endorphins.

If you view exercise as a task or punishment you may need to change your mindset to view it as a pleasure and a function or tool to maintain wellness. Instead of saying no to an exercise program say no to something else that is not as important. This will ensure that you will not become one of those four people with mental health problems somewhere in your lifetime.

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