For the past two years, the coronavirus pandemic, quarantine measures, and working from home have affected our mental and physical wellbeing. Limited mobility, the stress of the pandemic, and all the uncertainties of the future combined with easy access to comfort food led many to gain weight and move less in the past two years.
But even before COVID-19, a sedentary lifestyle was already a global health problem, leading to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancers.
As borders around the world are reopening, we are now slipping into the realities of a new normal life. Whether you’re back in the office, doing hybrid work, or still working from home full time, sitting for prolonged periods can lead to many serious medical and physical conditions.
Since the government is now allowing unrestricted movement of people, now is the time to become more active and start a workout routine. Physical wellbeing means taking care of your body internally and externally through proper nutrition and exercise. You cannot achieve this without one or the other. Balancing healthy eating and frequent exercise will give your body the fuel to do high-performance training to be physically fit.
What is physical wellbeing?
Physical wellbeing is the ability to live and maintain a healthy quality of life, free from any illnesses or diseases. This then allows you to optimally get through daily activities without undue fatigue, pain, limitation, or physical stress. Being physically fit translates to being strong, healthy, and full of energy
To attain physical wellbeing, we all have to commit to making healthy choices daily and maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Why is daily exercise important to your body?
Your body is designed to move. Every part is a living cell that constantly changes and evolves on a microscopic level. Every action or inaction results in a specific response or reaction. When you drink coffee, your body immediately reacts to the caffeine by making you alert. When you overeat, your body converts the excess calories to fat. When you lift weights, your body responds by “thickening the muscles” and strengthening the bones and joints. When you run regularly, your body responds by making your heart and lungs bigger. Your body is alive and reactive. It adapts to any and every stimulus you give, whether physical, nutritional, medical, or mental.
The same reaction happens in reverse as well. When you stop overeating, your body senses that there is no need to store the weight as fat and you start to lose the pounds. When you stop lifting weights, your body thinks it doesn’t need that much muscle mass and the muscles begin to shrink. When you stop doing cardio, your stamina starts to go down.
So why is exercising regularly really important? Because if you become sedentary daily, your body will sense that it does not need that much muscle, bone or joint strength. All this will start to weaken and get smaller. It is for the same reason that bedridden people need to relearn many physical skills.
Where does happiness come in?
One of the most amazing benefits of exercise is that it triggers the release of endorphins or “happy hormones.” No matter how sad, mad, depressed, or sluggish you feel, once endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are released into your body, your whole mood changes. These three substances can also be triggered by food, smell, good memories, good friends and, best of all, a good workout.
Exercising doesn’t just make your heart, lungs, muscles and joints stronger, it also lifts your mood. Extensive research has shown that regular exercise reduces the risk of depression, enhances cognitive function, bolsters your spirit, and generally puts you in a more jovial disposition. The joy that you feel after exercising isn’t a fluke or some marketing gimmick. There’s serious science behind how a physical workout plays in mood regulation.
Amid the pandemic ups and downs we constantly experience these days, a consistent workout routine is guaranteed to put you in a better mental, emotional, and physical place. That’s already covering two of the four components of total wellbeing. You only need to work on the other two—social and financial wellbeing.