Community//

How exercise helps boost emotional well-being

The role of exercise in improving our mental health has become all the more significant due to the current crisis.

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Exercise is something that all of us doubt. We’re scared of the early morning gym workout. The idea of jogging for longer than 10 minutes is frightening, and to do so, do we have to try to eat well as well? Why is that the case? I think that all of us see exercise or physical activity as a chore in general, and not something that is fun that should not be the case at all! Most medical students and even the public already know the beneficial physical effects that exercise provide, but I believe more of us neglect or refuse to understand how physical activity will enhance our mental health.

Mental wellbeing, and talking about it, has always had some stigma attached to it, particularly for males. However, in recent years, people have begun to pay more attention to it and to shine more and more light on mental health problems and on what we should do to fix them. Unfortunately, depression and suicide rates have soared over the past decade, which has caused us to take it more seriously. Some occupations and industries, such as nursing, have also seen a marked spike in depression and suicide rates, which begs the question; what really is wrong, and why are we scared of opening up stuff to do for our mental health?

We think so much for pretending to be ok that we don’t have to face up to and deal with underlying and profoundly ingrained problems. Especially as a male, we’re programmed to put on a brave face or to be the ‘guy’ that our current or future families need. Although one must learn how to cope with the situations that life throws at us accordingly, this does not mean that we should be afraid to speak up or seek support when things really get complicated. Individuality amongst men and continuously having to do it on our own is also a pressing problem that we must try to get rid of. It is evident to all that culture is changing a lot.

Males are no longer expected to be the primary breadwinners of the household, since a growing majority of women are going to study, going to work and playing many of the tasks that a prior patriarchal society would not have thought feasible. As a result, wealth within our community has eased some of the stresses and encouraged us to take a break when needed. During these breaks, I think it is important that we assess not just our physical wellbeing, but also our emotional health, and whether we are actually ok, and not only seem to be ok.

The Department of Health advises that an average adult perform roughly 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week, which is equal to 30 minutes five days per week. If it’s a stroll to work instead of taking a subway or a ride down to the local gym, we must strive to do something to reap future rewards.

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