The correlation between fitness and health has long been discussed. Through years of research, we know that being physically active will help in losing weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and aid in digestion. The focus of research has taken an interesting turn in last 10 years, by shining the spotlight on the relationship between physical activity and mental health.

Again, research shows the benefits of physical activity!

In relation to mental health, there are measurable increases in the hormones that affect our moods and cognitive functions. There are countless benefits to an improved quality of our sleep, allowing your body to repair itself both physically and mentally.

Recently, there has been an increase of attention given to wellness when we talk about physical and mental health. An important question remains, how do we give focus to our wellness?

Meditation

Mindfulness and breathing techniques have been linked to alleviating stress, reducing anxiety and can even help fight depression. There are many classes, audio recordings and apps that make meditation accessible to everyone.

Sleep

As mentioned earlier, sleep plays a huge part in health. For those that suffer occasional insomnia, moderate exercise promotes sleep. Try not to exercise too close to your regular bedtime to give your body time to cool down and send the signal that it is time for sleep.

Get Outside

Clear your head by getting outside and giving yourself a moment in the fresh air. Being outside can increase your exposure to vitamin D, which improves energy levels. It can also lower the risk of depression, improve productivity and inspire creativity.

HIIT/ Group Exercise

Incorporating classes such as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) like the ones offered at Orangetheory Fitness across Canada and the U.S., are an incredible way to get healthy. Working alongside others in a social atmosphere increases dopamine levels – the “feel good” chemical your body produces – and decreases cortisol levels – your “stress” hormone.

The combination of strength training and endurance training will result in a more efficient body – you will be fitter, stronger, healthier, but you will also experience an overall feeling of wellbeing. Exercise can improve cognitive function and you might feel more confident and less anxious.

The bottom line is self-care. Our most precious commodity is ourselves – our mind and body. We need to take care of ourselves on multiple levels to achieve an overall sense of wellbeing. Is physical fitness a cure all? No. But it can make a difference. So, take care of you.

Be heathy. Get strong. Live well.