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Exercise for Improved Mental Health!

May 16, 2013

The physical health benefits of exercise include reduced health risks associated with high blood pressure, weight gain, high cholesterol and declining mobility. Additionally and just as important are the now well-documented mental health benefits from a regular exercise program.

Through hormonal and chemical changes, we see enhanced mood, increased energy levels, improved self-confidence and better sex drive as additional benefits from a consistent and appropriate strength and conditioning program.

Many personal training clients have been held back starting to exercise as they lack motivation and lack self-confidence in addition to having the health risks associated with middle age. Additionally, many people have injury considerations but starting with a certified health and fitness professional can provide the guidance to be successful both short and long term.

For people suffering from depression and other mental conditions, most doctors feel that exercise is a must. Most of these physical and mental benefits are good for both children and adults.

An exercise session causes positive changes in hormone levels – reducing the bad ones like cortisol and increasing good ones like serotonin. The effects from exertion, even mild exertion regulates heart rate, blood sugars, mood, and sleep patterns. All of which will support mental outlook and emotional well-being. Repeated over time, these short-term changes become long term and if an exercise regime is maintained, progressed accordingly and done consistently permanent changes occur.

Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins to help a sense of relaxation and well-being. By increasing oxygenation of the body – heart and lungs, there is a reduction in stress. Immune function is boosted and people become more aware of the mind – body connection by moving better and feeling better – energized and optimistic.

It takes about 3 weeks of consistent exercise sessions to start seeing positive mental change. A program needs to be a minimum of 3 times per week and should include strength training, stretching and some cardio vascular exercise. Not including all three elements is a critical mistake because being strong and flexible is just as, if not more important than, the cardio-vascular element of exercise. The great part is that improved energy levels are usually the first improvement the new exerciser feels. After a couple of workouts you will notice some changes in energy and how you feel.

Just make sure the intensity levels and exercises are appropriate for your individual starting point and check with your physician if it’s been a while since you have exercised. A certified trainer can help with planning appropriate exercises and giving you a great starting point as well as progressing accordingly with more time, harder or easier exercises and working around injury considerations. A successful, structured exercise program is about how you feel today as well as building a happy healthy future!

At Fitness Together in Timonium and Owings Mills, we help clients get outstanding fitness results with personalized exercise programs delivered in our upscale, private facility. Clients get lots of attention and personalized service from our entire team of outstanding fitness coaches. Our clients look great in public because they train in private. Contact Mark Dees markdees@fitnesstogether.com to set up a free consultation.

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