The Wonder Drug

It is now becoming more accepted that a fitness program can act as a depression medication; that as a depression treatment it can boost mental fitness for life and at the same time it can reduce the risk of strokes? But why?

The simple answer is that it is now understood that physical fitness is about much more than just muscles, lungs and heart. Athletes of all types boast about the HIGH or BUZZ they get from their run or workout. In fact, non-exercisers sometimes get sick of hearing about it. Maybe they don’t believe it. Or maybe they prefer not to believe it. But it’s true.

Now this HIGH seems to be good for mental fitness too. And this is why it is now more common for the medical profession to prescribe exercise for those who suffer from depression. In fact, it can often completely turn round the life of a depressed person.

Emotional & Physical Wellness

Possibly another element that contributes to this is the pleasing feeling of having done something well. This can mean having done well against a previous personal effort or against competition. Maybe this can best be seen as an improvement in emotional wellness, or feeling good, and that’s not a bad thing. It probably makes the effort of exercising worthwhile in itself.

But, there is more to it than that. Someone who exercises has made an effort and is fitter as a reward. The HIGH is a sign that making the effort, the physical activity, the achievement and a greater sense of well-being go hand-in-hand. And so they should.

Because this is not merely an emotional sense based on nothing more than a nice feeling. Nor is it simply based on perception or a placebo effect. It is based on really being better than before.

Your Heart, Lungs, Muscles and BRAIN

Although we may always think of this while exercising or training for a sport, in reality we are working to improve the capacity of our heart to pump greater amounts of blood. We are also expanding the ability of the lungs to supply oxygen to our blood and the ability of our muscles to utilise oxygen supplied by the blood. The better we do this the fitter we become.

But there’s more - as well as becoming physically better in the usual sense of physical fitness, exercise also improves the circulation of blood to the brain. This brings at least two valuable benefits. The first is that it reduces the risk of strokes. The second is that it promotes the delivery of oxygen to the brain and improves its capacity to receive it.

In other words, an important element of exercise is that it improves the brain chemistry quite naturally without drugs. This has a calming effect and makes us feel less stressed. In turn, this reduces the likelihood of depression. To put it another way, exercise is the drug.

A Mice Lesson

According to “Exercise Ups Brain Power” on the website of the American Council On Fitness, physically active mice experience an increase of brain cell proliferation. Maybe working out makes us smarter too?

But there is another way to improve your mental fitness other than just bask in the joy of exercise. You can exercise your brain with a mental workout just as you exercise your body with a physical workout.

Funnily enough, the same research into mice quoted by the American Council On Fitness concluded that brain cell development also occurred when mice were placed in an interesting and stimulating environment.

Nice for the mice.

Mental Fitness Workouts

In other words, just as we can make a whole variety of gains when we choose to exercise physically, so there are a host of ways of doing the same with mental workouts. Here are some workouts for your neurotransmitters:

1. Learn a Language.

2. Laugh - it’s the best medicine.

3. Do Games & Puzzles.

4. Learn to do Magic.

5. Really study a topic that interests you.

6. Do Voluntary Work.

7. Learn to play a musical instrument.

To a large extent our interests and aims provide us with our own stimuli. This is both mental and physical. It’s also another reason why exercising, games and sports in association with and competing against others can produce their HIGHS and produce a feeling of well-being, purpose and achievement.

In fact, as soon as you put your mind to it, a host of things practically suggest themselves, don’t they?

Author's Bio: 

Jon Dyson is the founder of http://www.faster-safer-fitness.com/ and author of:
· The Fitnessblasting Manual and
· Dangerous Exercises Exposed!

Jon learned the hard way that getting fit is EASY. With over 30 years experience, let him show you how. Get your hindsight in advance by clicking here now for free Fitnessblasting course.