Technogym’s thoughts about the benefits of physical activity for mental well-being and performance
If, like most people, you view your mind and body as being separate from one another, you might be surprised how closely the two are related.
Think about it like driving your car. The experience of driving is like your mind. As the driver you sense the environment, make decisions, and respond to them. The car is like your body. It gives you feedback about the changing environment via your dashboard and puts your responses into action via your controls. If you do not maintain your car, the driving experience will get worse. If dashboard lights and dials are not working, you will not get the feedback you need to make the right decisions at the right time. If steering, acceleration, and braking mechanisms are not responsive, your performance will suffer, and you are more likely to crash.
The dashboard and controls are a part of the car and impact your experience as the driver. Just as your brain is a part of your body and its function directly impacts how you think and feel. Your brain cannot function optimally if you don’t give your body the maintenance it needs.
You are probably aware that you need quality sleep to allow your brain to repair each night. You may know the benefits of staying well hydrated and eating a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, for brain health. You may be less aware of the profound benefits physical activity and regular exercise have for maintaining brain function and psychological well-being.
Exercise improves brain function and well-being through physiological mechanisms including:
• improved blood flow
• better nutrient delivery
• better brain neurotransmitter balance.
Exercise also acts through psychological mechanisms such as:
• improved sense of control
• higher self-esteem
• positive social interactions.
Regular exercise helps you cope better with stress. It can help prevent and treat conditions like anxiety, depression, ADHD, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. It has also been shown to improve well-being, learning and memory performance in healthy children and adults.
Most studies use cardiovascular exercise to demonstrate these benefits. Guidelines recommend that you do >150minutes of moderate physical activity, or >75minutes of vigorous exercise per week for these benefits. You can achieve this by walking, running or cycling outdoors, or participating in sports or exercise classes. You can achieve these by using Technogym Cardio Solutions such as the Synchro, Vario, Climb, Upright or Recline bikes and Treadmill. You can conveniently track all your activity in the MyWellness app and review your progress in the results section to stay motivated.
Motivation to exercise comes and goes. You may find it easier to exercise regularly when you have a short term goal or focus. You may find it harder to stick to a routine when you are stressed or have a high workload. Knowing the importance and benefits of exercise for your well-being and mental performance can help keep regular exercise high on your priority list.
• Ratey, J. J. (2013). Spark. Little, Brown & Company.
• National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Clinical Guideline CG90 Treatment of mild to moderate depression.
• Bull FC, Al-Ansari SS, Biddle S, et al. World Health Organization 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour British Journal of Sports Medicine 2020;54:1451-1462.
• Mandolesi, L., Polverino, A., Montuori, S., Foti, F., Ferraioli, G., Sorrentino, P., & Sorrentino, G. (2018). Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 509.
Images reproduced with kind permission of Technogym