Fitness for mental health??? What does that even mean? how do you workout your mind for mental health? Or can you even workout your mind for mental health? So many questions that arise with this topic. So I'm going to do my best to touch on this and my experience with this topic.
So first things first. Fitness for mental health doesn't actually mean you are literally or physically working out your brain or mind. Fitness for mental health is the topic on how fitness can benefit and improve your state of mind and mental health in a positive way.
For example: I was diagnosed with PTSD, major depression, and an anxiety disorder. Now I'm not going to go into each of these topics now. But I will go into how I was able to overcome these issues through three key things. God, FITNESS, and diet. Fitness being the main topic of this post. Dealing with PTSD, depression, and an anxiety disorder and keep in mind anxiety and an anxiety disorder are two different things, I had a hard time functioning because I was always in flight or fight mode, always on edge, and always ready to have a panic attack at any moment. And growing up in and around being active and into fitness thanks to my parents I always worked out and trained and working out was just a part of my normal everyday routine. So dealing with all these mental health issues it was hard for me to function at all especially physically. Going to the gym was part of my life and dealing with anxiety and my the anxiety disorder I had a difficult time being around people or anyone for that matter.
There was a point in 2016 where I could not even leave my house for 3 months. I tried so many things and one of those things being attempting to take my own life because if I couldn't even function going outside my own home then what was the point of living right? That's how i saw it anyway. But within those 3 months I was determined to find a way to cure myself. So I literally hopped on my laptop that I almost never used before and started studying online how to cure depression and anxiety and anxiety disorders naturally. And man oh man I came across so much information. Maybe too much. But I learned a lot and that I wasn't alone in the world. The main thing I learned is that most mental heath issues are very much correlated with stress. Or high amounts of stress. specifically the stress hormone cortisol.
Now Cortisol or (the stress hormone) is ONE of the leading causes for physical health and mental health issues especially anxiety and anxiety disorders. The higher the cortisol the more likely the chances of getting or having anxiety or an anxiety attack there is. So while studying and learning I gained so much knowledge and I should probably have my doctorate degree in all the knowledge I've gained just from doing my research on stress and anxiety disorders. Anyway.... Back to the point. I learned that the stress hormone cortisol can actually be controlled and lowered with many different ways and one of those ways being physical fitness! Now seeing that was a bright light to my eyes! I had always wondered if I would ever be able to workout and exercise again or just have to give it up due to my issues i was dealing with mentally but as it turned out that was actually one of the ways to help overcome my issues.
So how it works is when you workout or do any kind of physical activity your body releases chemicals called endorphins that are a group of hormones or better known as (the happy hormones) that actually make you feel happy and positive and has the same affect of morphine in reducing pain and making the body feel good but without the addiction problems.. Now that sounds better than any drug without being a drug! And not only does exercise raise endorphins but it also lowers the stress hormone cortisol so when that is lowered and endorphins are raised that actually causes anxiety levels and anxiety disorders to lower and causes for a more positive mindset.
So basically fitness works for mental health issues because it raises the positive happy hormones called ENDORPHINS and lowers the negative stress hormone called CORTISOL. So fitness plays a hug role in our state of mind and is beneficial and I recommend to anyone and everyone dealing with any kind of stress and mental health issue. Even if it doesn't work for you at least you'll lose a few pounds and gain some muscle so it's a win win in my book.
Next post i'll go over the types of workouts and programs that are best for mental health issues in my opinion.