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Exercise for the Soul

The popular saying, “Mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind is a healthy body) is an old statement that has now gained scientific status. Physical activity is an effective tool in helping to combat negative emotions.

Whatever your issues may be, getting physical activity can help stimulate both your body and your mind and help improve your well-being. Whether it is yoga, aerobics, dancing, or pilates, you can be sure that staying active will help you face your troubles with a new and more positive perspective.

Exercise is not only a great to way to help decrease muscular tension and stress, but it is also inexpensive. If you find the will and strength you need to start a routine, you’ll notice the results will soon become visible in your body and soul.

Perhaps when you first begin you may not understand exactly how exercise can help your emotional stability: Yoga to stop crying? Keep moving to feel better after an exhausting day? Repeatedly jumping up and down in a fitness class to decrease depression?

When you participate in any kind of physical activity, whether it be high- or low impact, your body produces endorphins.  Endorphins are commonly known as “hormones of happiness.” According to a document published by the Office of Women’s Health in the US Department of Health and Social Services, they “relieve stress and improve your mood.”

There is a wide range of benefits from exercise. They include the release of adrenaline and energy, as well as distraction from the issues that are making you worry right now. And we haven’t even mentioned the fact that exercising helps you to achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight and feel better about yourself. For this reason, it can also improve your social life, because you feel better about getting out and meeting new people.

What kind of physical activity is most suitable for you?

To control stress

A good option if you suffer from stress is to combine an aerobic activity that will let you “release” energy, such as spinning or jogging, with a relaxing activity such as yoga, tai chi, body balance or swimming. If are feeling anxious, the best choice is a relaxing activity to regulate and control your breathing. Yoga is number one in this category.

For chronic fatigue

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every five women suffers from chronic fatigue worldwide. The causes include both physical and psychological factors: weariness from long work days, stress, sadness, dissatisfaction, and even depression. The result is a lack of energy that leaves us feeling down. People who are in this situation generally tend to want to solve it by resting or sleeping.  

But in most cases, the solution is actually to do the opposite: get active, and wake up the body and mind. Practicing an intense activity, such as aerobics or running, can be counterproductive because the effort will be excessive and drop-out is almost immediate.  However, a tai chi class, stretching, or yoga lesson, any activity that doesn’t require too much energy, will motivate you even during the first session. Water activities are also appropriate.

For depression

Every day, doctors are more and more inclined to recommend exercise as part of a treatment plan for depression. This is because of the exercise-induced production of endorphins and serotonin, which enhance the action of antidepressant medication. Frequent exercise is an effective tool to help decrease symptoms of depression. Any kind of physical activity is beneficial for depression, but the best choices are those that involve entertainment, concentration, and physical exertion. It is also important to exercise with other people instead of doing it by yourself. Socializing is important for people with depression.

To improve self-esteem

Making exercise a habit that becomes part of your daily routine is the best beauty treatment you can receive. It will not only help you achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight, your skin and muscle tone will improve as well.  The production of endorphins plus the improvement in your appearance and well-being will have a positive impact on your self-esteem from the very first day. In addition to traditional forms of exercise, also try to participate in different group classes, such as belly dance lessons.  Belly dancing works your waist, and helps improve your self-esteem.


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