The answer to what exactly is physical wellness or fitness is not a very complicated one; just eat an apple a day and you qualify as fit. Ok, jokes aside, to be physically fit is not as easy as abc, especially for an obese or diabetic person. Getting fit mainly requires you to be free from health issues that may or may not have a short term or long term impact on your personal and professional life. However, the answer to what is mental wellness can be slightly complicated and subjective; it is like asking ten people what is happiness and receiving ten different answers. For some it is falling in love, for some it is excelling at work, for some it is an academic degree, for some it is spending quality time with their family, for some it is travelling, and so on.
According to Cori Dixon-Fyle, LCSW, a psychotherapist and founder of Thriving Path, LLC
“Mental health encompasses our psychological, emotional, mental and social well-being,”
Following are the words people reported to associate with their happiness:
It is noteworthy that 47% people associated health with happiness, and it comes as no surprise that people fail to understand the connection between health and happiness. Happiness, or fulfilment, or satisfaction is, after all, what mental peace is mainly about, isn’t it?
The Connection between Body and Mind and Its Effect on Health:
People often fail to understand that mental health and physical health are strongly interconnected and how when one gets affected, the other can find no escape either. umerous studies that demonstrate how our mind’s health is inseparable from our bodies.
- Researchers at Bangor University in Wales found performance of a mentally fatiguing task prior to a difficult exercise test caused participants to reach exhaustion faster than when they did the same exercise when mentally rested.
Hence, rest and mental peace before strenuous physical activity helps you feel better and also perform better during the day. The researchers said the next step is to look at the brain to find out exactly why people with mental fatigue perceive exercise to be more difficult:
“When someone is struggling with their energy in the middle of a workout, the first thing to do is look at what their life has been like over the last few weeks,” says Janet Hamilton, an exercise physiologist.
“Have you been sleeping well and getting regular me time?” she continued.
- Following is another study that shows how mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans:
16 participants rode a stationary bicycle to exhaustion under two conditions: once when they were mentally fatigued, and once when they were mentally rested. The trials took place in the laboratory on different days. The participants got the same amount of sleep, drank the same amount and had the same meal before each of the sessions.
The mental fatigue sessions began with a challenging 90-minute mental task that required close attention, memory, quick reaction and an ability to inhibit a response. After undergoing this session, participants reported being tired and lacking energy. The control session consisted of watching neutral documentaries for 90 minutes and was not mentally fatiguing.
After each of the 90-minute sessions — mentally fatiguing or nonfatiguing — the participants did an intense bout of exercise on a stationary bicycle. They rode until exhaustion, defined as the point when they could not maintain a cadence of at least 60 revolutions per minute for more than five seconds.
Throughout both exercise sessions, the researchers tracked a variety of physiological measures, such as oxygen consumption, heart rate, cardiac output, blood pressure, ventilation, and blood lactate levels. The participants completed surveys to measure their motivation and perceived effort. The researchers offered monetary prizes for the best performance on the exercise and mental tasks as a way to keep motivation high.
The participants stopped exercising 15 percent earlier, on average, when they were mentally fatigued.
The participants stopped at the same perceived effort level in both the fatigued and nonfatigued trial. However, mentally fatigued participants started at a higher level of perceived effort and reached the endpoint sooner.
Mental and Physical Fatigue Are Interrelated:
It is proven that mental fatigue lowers the brain’s inhibition against quitting by affecting dopamine, a brain chemical that plays a role in motivation and effort. A study shows that people with chronic fatigue perceive exercise to be more difficult. Hence, mental fatigue affects physical health and vice versa.
What Causes Fatigue?
According to Medical News Today, following are the common reasons behind fatigue:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
All the above are health issues, and these health issues are connected with lack of a proper balance between adequate diet and physical fitness. Working out at a moderate intensity can provide both mental and physical benefits, including improved physiological and psychological performances plus stress relief.
However, it is not a piece of cake for a person with some or all of the above mentioned health issues to get up every morning and head out for a jog or regularly go to a gym. As established sufficiently enough by plenty of researches, somebody with obesity and blood sugar issues is at a higher risk of fatigue, which causes a sharp decline in their motivation to lose fat and get fit. For such people, a balance of proper balanced diet, adequate physical workout and a non-invasive fat reducing technique must be observed.
Following any one or two of them will not be effective enough, as all three of them will work together harmoniously. The reason why invasive (surgical) fat-reducing techniques like liposuction, etc. are not recommended is that, although their weight loss and cosmetic effects are almost instant and almost magical, the disadvantages brought along with surgery can be scary. The risks can include:
- Severe bruising
- Contour irregularities
- Internal organ punctures (This is very rare)
- Kidney or heart problems
- fluid levels may cause kidney or heart problems.
- Allergic reaction
- Skin burns
On the other hand, non-surgical, a non-invasive fat reducing treatment will also have risks and benefits. According to the American Board of Cosmetic surgery, following are the advantages and limitations of non-invasive treatments:
- Little to no downtime is required
- No general anesthesia, incisions or scars
- Side effects are minimal for most patients
- Gradual onset of results allows patients to be discreet about treatments
- Results can last as long as a patient maintains his or her weight
- Reduces fat only
- We cannot choose exactly how much fat is lost, only estimate a percentage
- Multiple treatments may be needed
- May not be suitable for patients with significant amounts of fat
How Health Paves the Way for a Positive Mental Attitude:
Keeping physically fit means keeping mentally fit as well. Finding healthy ways to deal with BOTH, your health issues and your emotional issues, is imperative for your mental peace. It is considerably difficult for unhealthy people to achieve a high level of mental positivity, and similarly, a person whose head is filled with negative emotions finds it difficult to focus on their physical wellness. Hence, both need to be treated both on individual levels but simultaneously, as one is not achievable without the other.
In fact, Maslow’s Pyramid of needs shows how Physiological needs are the most basic needs of a human; if proper breathing, diet, sleep are compromised, the other needs cannot be fulfilled. Safety, self-esteem, a sense of love and belonging, self-actualization, all help you achieve and maintain a positive mental attitude and they become relatively easier to achieve once your basic needs are well taken care of. Be it maintaining wholesome relationships with loved ones, going on a regular fitness regime, taking control of your finances, acquiring a hobby that gives you a sense of accomplishment, traveling, striving to perform better at work, whatever it may be that you think will bring mental peace to your life, start doing it.
How you choose to pave your way to fitness, better health and subsequent mental peace is entirely up to you, but the basics mentioned above are undeniable essential and will play a remarkable role if followed strictly. You must remember that you cannot let your current health limitations keep you from endeavoring to achieve better health in future. The harder you try, the better your results will be, and the better your results, the better you will feel on the inside and outside.