Insight from An Insider
I’m so excited to share with you, one of our own. She’s been one of our At-Home Personal Training clients since the beginning and becoming a good friend. More impressive though, Antoinette Watson, MSN, APRN, AGACNP-BC, CVNP-BC, PMHNP-BC is a mental health professional with more credentials after a last name than I’ve ever seen! We asked her to share some insight into the balance of physical fitness, well-being and mental health. She’s definitely gotten me to think a little bit more about my next excuse!
Fitness Is Just A Physical Act… Or Is It?
“When you think about physical fitness, how often do you consider the mental aspect that goes with it? Most people think physical fitness is purely a physical act. I’m here to explain to you that it’s not. Anybody can exercise but to become physically fit, and especially maintain the fitness, you must know the balance involved mentally.
Consider your daily life tasks; work, raising children, social life, paying bills, significant others, etc. Everyday in some fashion we mentally note/prepare/remind ourselves of what we have to do for the day with the hopes of getting most of those things done. Creating a routine even, just to maintain some balance and structure. Maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle requires the same mental prep and daily mental reminders. After all, we are what we tell ourselves we are.”
The Many Benefits of Fitness
“The physical aspect of exercise is probably the most deterring thing to someone who is not physically fit. But ask anyone who is physically fit about the lingering benefits of exercise, specifically the mental benefits. Here are just a few for example:
A mental break
Whether it’s 30 minutes or 60 minutes, exercise allows you to escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Use this time as your mental escape from the stress and deadlines and allow yourself to be consumed by the exercise. You just might have a sense of creativity afterwards to better handle some of the stressors in life.
The post workout high
After you’ve huffed and puffed and regained the will to breathe, do you notice the sense of euphoria that sets in? That little voice in the back of your mind that says “that actually felt really good.” Exercise is known to release dopamine and endorphins which helps us feel happy. Hence feeling like you just blew out your birthday candles once your workout is done.
As we plow through our daily tasks and juggle unexpected stressors, how often is ‘decompression’ programmed into your day? For most people it isn’t and this is where the “I don’t have time” excuse is born. The old saying goes, “people make time for what they want, for what they feel is important” or something like that. So make time. Is relieving stress important to maintain balance in your day? ABSOLUTELY. Often many of us don’t make enough time to destress or don’t see where this time can be added in our day but it is definitely possible. Take time each day to make a plan. Even if that means making an adjustment somewhere else in order to make it work. And yes, there is always something that can be adjusted or removed to make it work.
Anxiety and depression
One of the best medications for mood disorders! Do you actually know what anxiety or depression feel like? Some of us live with these things every day; many are able to realize the symptoms but very many aren’t. When COVID happened and isolation was ordered, many people started working from home and lost numerous points of human interaction for the day. This is where we realized how we really felt. Loneliness and not having body language encounters with others lead to a rise in anxiety and depression. Factors like maintaining an exercise routine were lost and many people weren’t sure how to handle it. For some, exercise was their coping skill and without its maintenance, the mood took a hit. Exercise also helps release oxytocin into the brain and this helps to offset feelings like anxiety and depression.
Last but not least. YOUR BODY!
Imagine that size large getting loose and those size 12 or 16 jeans now needing a belt. The motivation you get from seeing a transformation story all started with exercise. I don’t think any further explanation is needed here.”
Ready To Make A Change?
“Starting to change a few minds now? Your mental status benefits just as much if not more from your physical status which is why exercise is just as much mental as it is physical. For the number runners out there, my guess for a total package would be 60% mental, 30% physical, and 10% nutrition. Doesn’t seem like that’s right huh? Let’s break it down.
60% mental – 60% of your time will be spent developing goals and learning what your body needs, talking yourself into starting a routine, telling yourself to maintain a routine, starting to change your diet, telling yourself to maintain your diet, planning time into your schedule to fit the exercise in, telling yourself not to make excuses, holding yourself accountable. See?
30% physical – sweat for 30 mins every day or sweat for 60 mins three times per week; either way move that body and sweat! Not much to it after that. And don’t even think about adding ‘planning your workouts’ here because that’s all mental.
10% nutrition – you are what you eat. Once again, this is mental. Telling yourself to choose grilled vs fried, eat at home vs eat out, rice cakes vs red velvet cake. ALL MENTAL. While nutrition is for sure a very important part of an exercise plan for fitness, without the mental fortitude to stick to the plan, your fitness will not get far.”
Get Your Mind Right!
“So not to drag it out but get your mind right; make a decision to start a change. That’s the first step. The mental benefits are worth the GAIN and you have everything else like stress, anxiety, depression, and weight to LOSE.
Stay strong Fit Fam. We got this.”
Antoinette Watson, MSN, APRN, AGACNP-BC, CVNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
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