Connecting the Healthy Mind to a Healthier Body

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(Note: this article is part of Volume 18, Issue 2 publication, to view other articles click here. To view the ISSUU version of the magazine click here)

by Ibad Cheema

“45 minutes of exercise can have a stronger impact on your academic performance than 45 minutes of studying.”

Healthy living is a lifelong commitment that at times becomes a great struggle. It’s swearing your undying allegiance to the five food groups, exercise and adequate amounts of sleep. The key to living a healthy lifestyle is consistency in our diet and activity habit. Short term solutions like crash diets, pills or extreme weight loss techniques sound like a pretty sweet deal in comparison. The reality though is that they are ineffective and detrimental to your health, especially in the long term. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. Sorry Dr. Bernstein. In the absence of food, the body burns proteins from the muscles and consumes water. This gives the appearance of having lost weight and although the scales will verify that weight loss has actually been achieved, it’s the wrong kind of weight to lose. Eating habits and activity are the two cornerstones of healthy living. We discussed healthy eating tips in the previous issue; we will discuss activity in this one.

One important thing to note is that a light person is not necessarily healthier than a heavier person. The components comprising the weight are more significant than the number on the scale. Muscle is more dense than fat, it weighs more. So if you are exercising and see your weight increase instead, do not be alarmed, it just means you are replacing fat with muscle.

University students barely have it in them to walk from one class to another in the measly ten-minute time frame between classes. I’m talking to you Vic to New College trekkers. In such an environment taking time out for the gym is difficult, but sometimes 45 minutes of exercise can have a stronger impact on your academic performance than 45 minutes of studying. Here is why:

-Cardiovascular activity increases blood flow in our bodies and moves oxygen faster through our system. It also builds stamina and strengthens the immune system which in turn means we are less susceptible to falling sick.

-Endorphins which are commonly called “feel-good-hormones” are released during the course of exercise. Not only do they make you ‘feel-good’, they also help relieve stress and improve self-confidence.

-Adrenalin is also released in our bodies due to exercise. It increases focus and clarity in thought. Regular everyday tasks like studying become more concentrated. Its more potent than coffee (professional athletes take it in the form of injections to improve focus), it’s free and it’s healthy.

– Exercise can be done at home. There doesn’t need to be a special gym to engage in moderate levels of exertion.

-Depending on our level of activity, age and physical condition, we can customize an exercise routine that is suitable for us. Not everyone should be lifting heavy weights at the gym or running after chicken like Rocky Balboa.

-Results take time; patience is a virtue in this case. Many people wishing to see results in a couple of weeks give up just before results are about to show. A month or more of regular exercise is required before the results start showing.

So give it a go! Drop the coffee, eat your vegetables, hit the gym and get some sleep. Your body will thank you for it.