The Importance of exercise:
When it comes to mental health people underestimate how much of an impact physical activity can have on it. We should think of our brain as a muscle, it needs constant training. Our brain consists of neurotransmitters, blood vessels, nerves and glial cells. The brain controls our thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger. Together, the brain and spinal cord that extends from it make up the central nervous system.
Exercise may help your brain’s hippocampus, the part that’s linked to memory and learning, grow. When this part grows the chances of memory loss will decrease.
Neurotransmitter definition: Chemical messengers that transmit a signal from neuron across the synapse to a target cell, which can be a different neuron, muscle cell or gland cell.
Glial cells: Supportive cells in the central nervous system. They are non-neural cells involved in regulating homeostasis and provide support and protection to the functioning of the nervous system.
Serotonin– the mood stabilizer: Meditation, Spending time outdoors and getting sun exposure, exercise and being active.
Dopamine – The reward chemical: Achieving small wins and completing tasks/goals, self-care and good nutrition
Endorphin – the pain killer: Laughing, volunteering and giving back, exercise and being active
Oxytocin – The love hormone: Physical affection, giving or receiving a compliment, positive reinforcement.
- Improves neurotransmitter activity. Which means that after an activity the hormones mentioned above specifically Endorphins, Dopamine and Serotonin, are being released which means it is an automatic mood enhancer.
- Releases stored energy which can alleviate anxiety. When you are holding onto too much energy it can disrupt your sleeping patterns as well as build up on anxiety which then releases cortisol (stress hormone). High cortisol levels can lead to Fatigue, Irritability, Headaches , Digestive problems such as constipation, bloating or diarrhoea, anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, increased blood pressure , low libido as well as menstrual issues.
- Improves self-esteem. As mentioned above, Dopamine gets released when small goals/tasks are achieved. When these tasks are achieved your mind automatically feels ‘happier’ and therefore more confident in knowing you can do more. That will also lead to positive reinforcement and the release of Oxytocin.
- Serves as a distraction or copping mechanism. Usually when a person experiences a lot of challenges and distractions in their life it is good to follow some structure and routine such as a set time for a training session or healthy meal. This will allow the mind to fine peace I knowing something will always be consistent even when life is unpredictable. This also allows for a healthy way of coping, which includes more ‘feel good’ hormones.
- Social interaction.
A rich social network provides sources of support, reduces stress, combats depression and enhances intellectual stimulation. Studies have shown that those with the most social interaction within their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline. Happy marriages or long-term relationships and having a purpose in life have shown significant protective effects against age-related cognitive impairment.
- The heart becomes more efficient.
- There is improved circulation of the overall body due to the increased ability of the heart to pump blood.
- As mentioned above, training stabilizes the hormones and excretes the ‘good’ hormones which enhance your mood and quality of life.
- Another benefit is that with following a training program you are more likely to follow a structured healthy lifestyle which will improve your self-esteem.
- Joining a gym, fitness club or studio is a great way to combat loneliness and meet like-minded people. Get active in sports or cultural activities. People who remain active and engaged with others report being happier and healthier overall.
When the mind gets stimulated with the good hormones the body is more likely to keep up and perform better. Having goals and being motivated to reach them will put you in a position of discipline and when small goals are reached you are more likely to want to evolve and set bigger goals which improve your self esteem and overall lifestyle. It helps to keep your mind to compartmentalise and prioritize better as well as helps your brain in the long term with things such as memory and puzzle solving.
Pilates is a mind and body training technique which allows us to use our minds as a tool to help control our bodies and get the two connected. When the mind is in a good space the body will keep up. Pilates is focused on balance, whether it is the mind or the body. Hence, making Pilates a phenomenal method of training.
How do I book Pilates Classes?
Click on the “Book Pilates Classes” button below to book your class and start the journey to making a positive impact on your mental health!