Over the past few years, there has been a new wave in thinking about well-being. Now, it not only includes your physical fitness levels but also having mental well-being and being free of disease. It’s a holistic approach to health.
Fitness is a huge component of this overall well-being, and it’s something that’s easier for people to get under control because they can see the direct effects their physical activities have on their bodies. That translates directly to their sense of well-being.
Whether you are just a casual runner or a crossfitter extraordinaire, finding the right balance of physical fitness to benefit your overall well-being is crucial. In this article, we’ll discuss how exercising can improve your mental and physical well-being.
One of the first changes you’ll notice about yourself if you challenge yourself physically through exercise is an improved sense of self-esteem. Challenging yourself on a regular basis in physical activity can help boost your self-esteem because you see how your body improves and changes over time. You’ll stand up a bit taller and feel a bit stronger in everything you do, not just the physical exercise. That improved self-esteem will translate to better personal and professional relationships, as well as simply how you think about yourself.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
While there are tons of health benefits to exercising regularly, and each type of exercise poses its own set of physical benefits, perhaps the overarching benefit of nearly all exercise is improved cardiovascular health. Strengthening your heart leads to increased longevity, decreased risk for heart attack and heart disease, and improved blood flow throughout your body.
Getting out to exercise five to seven days a week takes a ton of discipline. Imagine training for a springtime marathon and needing to work up the motivation to train during the winter. That not only takes discipline to train every day but also to go out in unfavorable weather conditions to run. However, that marathon training pays off in more ways than accomplishing your goal of running a marathon; you carry that discipline with you into other areas of your life like work and improving yourself in other areas.
When you exercise regularly, especially exercise that gets your heart pumping, you are very likely working to improve your memory. A recent study showed that people who regularly performed demanding cardio exercise helped boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and verbal memory. Cardio exercise can also help our memory by reducing inflammation and releasing more growth factors which affect the health of our brain cells. Indirectly, it can help us sleep better, improve our mood, and reduce stress, problems that frequently impair our cognitive functions.
Focus on Holistic Well-being
Fitness is a huge component of our overall well-being. It extends our lifespan and boosts our mood. But it’s only a small part of well-being as it’s now understood. Focusing on eating healthy and improving our mental health should also be priorities as we try to be well.