Improved Mental Fitness Through Physical Fitness

Leader wellness requires physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fitness.  As I was thumbing through an in-flight magazine today I noticed an article citing research that I’ve long suspected; moderate exercise benefits not only physical well being but also our mental.  Most of us have been through intermittent periods of exercise or non-exercise with higher fatigue, irritablility, and higher stress during the periods inactivity.

I hold that regular and moderate exercise helps me contend with the physical and mental demands I face.  When I get off of an exercise  routine (which is often) even for a few weeks the results are never positive.  Turns out I’m apparently correct.  Exercise influences a multitude of pysiological and phsychological factors including circulation of mood-linked neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine as well as helping  work off anxiety-producing adrenaline.  According to Dr Tedd Mitchell MD of the Dallas-based Cooper clinic reducing adrenaline is like “taking a dose of a tranquilizer.”.

New studies are showing that exercise may build a protective effect.  Animal studies suggest that long-term moderate exercise may cause a lessened response to stressful stimuli.  Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder are finding that lab rats who exercised on a wheel every day for six weeks reacted better to sudden stress compared to the sedintary rats.

These initial findings indicate the mental benefits of exercise last after effects of serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline reduction wear off.

New research is proving that what’s good for the body is good for the mind too. – Charlotte Huff

From “Mental Fitness” in Celebrate Living magazine

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