The Covid-19 pandemic has made a huge influence on our life. This has driven the world into a new normal. The occasional visits to our relatives or friend’s home have now come to a pause, and we all are confined to our homes again. During these tough times, taking care of our mental health is indispensable for protecting ourselves from the pandemic. Mental health wellness is currently vital. Many people have been turning to online resources for mental wellbeing.
Aynus Antony is a celebrity fitness trainer who engages as a personal trainer for Mohanlal, Vishnu Unnikrishnan & Bibin George, among others. He advocates a solution that will help you get a grip on the situation – Exercise. He answers some of the most common questions about exercise and mental health in an interview with our team.
Is exercise really useful for the mind, as people say? It only helps the body.
Unlike popular belief, exercise has a shedload of advantages other than your physical fitness. The fringe benefits of exercise include mental wellbeing like reducing stress, anxiety and depression, which helps put yourself in a good space mentally. Curious about the backend details? This is how it works - Hormones like serotonin and endorphin are released during exercise, which makes you feel better. Exercise boosts the blood supply to the brain, which aids you in a more productive thinking process. It also improves the neural connections and increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for memory. As fitness centres are partially shut, many people are unable to stick with their fitness routine. This has enkindled at-home workouts and online fitness classes.
How many workouts do I need to do to get the mental health benefits?
Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day itself can foster a healthier mind and body. These thirty minutes can be broken down into smaller routines according to your convenience. Even a simple ten-minute walk can enhance your overall feel. According to a study in 2017, led by the Black Dog Institute, “as little as one hour of exercise per week would be enough to have prevented 12% depression cases”.
Maintaining mindfulness all while you are doing exercise is an easy way to upgrade the results. If you lack the motivation to do exercise, consider it part of your daily routine and lifestyle. For example, picking out something you enjoy along with a healthy diet is enough to keep you on track and boost your energy for exercise. If you are a newbie to physical activities, it will be better, to begin with, baby steps. Start your daily fitness routine with smaller and simpler tasks. Make incremental changes and improvements over time. You can also keep track of your activity in a book or your smartphone and review it yourself to provide feedback and analyze your daily progress.
Could you elaborate on some of the specific mental health benefits of exercise?
One-third of all people at some point of time in their life has been affected by insomnia which makes it difficult for them to fall asleep or stay asleep. Starting from a mild or short-term symptom, insomnia could last longer and leave the person feeling exhausted. Current medical treatments, including sleeping pills, pose dangerous side effects, which makes them an unreliable formula. So, are there any alternatives? You will not believe it! Exercise can actually help in curing insomnia. In fact, it is a core recommendation from the National Sleep Foundation (USA) to improve sleep.
A proper workout routine can make innumerable improvements to your brain. You will be able to create a stronger and bigger hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Moreover, regular physical exercise or even walking five miles per week can significantly reduce the risk of developing various brain disorders from 30 to 45 per cent. A small change in your lifestyle can actually change the trajectory of your life itself. A routine that is helpful for one person may not be suitable for another. So, instead of sticking to the first one you find, you can try different versions and choose the one apt for you. If you are suffering from a chronic condition, consult your physician before starting a new workout routine.
What is the message you would like to leave our readers with?
All the people who have been turning a deaf ear to the importance of workout or exercise till now must have realized it since the lockdown hit. In these tough times, health - both physical and mental - is very important, irrespective of age or gender. If any time is better to integrate exercise into your daily routine, this is the best time.
Aynus Antony is a personal fitness trainer who believes in transforming the lives of his clients so that they are healthier and happier. You can reach him on Instagram @pt_alfred
Article originally published and submitted by The Entrepreneur Tab