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What does “being healthy” actually mean? With so many mixed messages alongside ever-changing diet and fitness fads, it can be hard to know where to start. Having worked with clients of various ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities over the past few years, I'm a firm believer in finding what works for you and staying consistent; we are all different, but one mantra that rings true for us all is that what we do with and put into our bodies can have a powerful impact on our mental well-being. With that in mind let us explore how a healthy body can help you to achieve a healthy mind:
Regular exercise will transform how you feel about yourself. Any form of activity triggers the production of dopamine and endorphins, the body’s natural mood-boosting chemicals. I witness this first-hand with my clients who often remark that they leave a training session feeling like a different person. And it's the ongoing sense of well-being that they enjoy the most; they feel good about themselves, more energised and are keen to come back for more! Their sleep improves and in turn they feel less stressed, better able to focus on work and their productivity levels soar.
Eating well is also vital, not only to fuel your activity but also because your brain needs a balanced diet to function. We all know about the effects of a poor diet on our physical health, but research also points to the role food plays on our short and long-term mental health. According to the Mental Health Foundation, a balanced diet can help manage and prevent various mental health disorders such as depression and Alzheimer's disease.
The past 12 months have presented challenges that even the strongest-minded amongst us will have struggled to overcome. We've been mentally pushed to our limits, forced to adapt our ways of life that have thrown healthy habits and good intentions out the window. Motivation is at an all-time low. So, what can you do to break the vicious cycle and take back control in this new normal? First and foremost, you need to realise that your physical and mental health is in your hands and the responsibility lies with you to do something about it. There are many resources out there to help you address all aspects of your health and wellness.
If you take only a couple of the above points on board and move towards a healthier lifestyle, you'll be amazed at the change in your state of mind. General well-being takes discipline; it means putting in the work to do the little things that can make a big difference to how you feel and how you operate from day to day. Stay consistent and your body and mind will both reap the rewards.
Eleanor is a Level 3-qualified personal trainer who works with clients of all ages and levels of fitness. Her tailored programmes incorporate a mixture of low/high intensity interval training plus resistance work and she is qualified to advise on nutrition to compliment this. She is also a single mum to a 5-year-old boy so recognises the challenges of balancing a busy schedule with a healthy lifestyle.
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