Exercise and Psychological Well-being
When people consider whether to exercise, they weigh the pros and cons. The more benefits a person is able to identify, the more likely it is that the person will become more intrinsically motivated to exercise.
Exercising on a regular basis is one of the fundamental components of good physical health. Although being physically active has proven to be an undisputed method of improving health, it still seems that the percentage of sedentary individuals is steadily increasing. When deciding whether or not to exercise, the individual must make a determination about the perceived benefits versus the consequences of the activity. There are a plethora of Pros associated with increasing physical fitness through sport and other exercises. To be thorough, it must also be stated that there are a few perceived disadvantages as well. The majority of these disadvantages are significantly less likely to occur than the advantages.
Regular exercise is beneficial to a person’s physical appearance because it can enhance weight loss and increase lean muscle mass. It is also a very popular fact that exercising can improve cardiovascular endurance thereby reducing the potential for cardiovascular disease and impairment. These facts are universally understood and are considered the obvious advantage to exercising; however, there are a bevy of other benefits that exercising can have.
It can reduce the likeliness of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. A large portion of those within our country suffering from diabetes can track their root cause back to poor dieting and lack of exercise. Regular exercise is one way to reduce the potential heart conditions and diabetes that may someday affect the person.
It can stimulate a reduction in anxiety and depression. According to Weinberg & Gould (2011) routine exercise has been linked with reductions of anxiety and depression (P. 399). Adhering to a solid exercise plan can lead to improved mental health and a decrease in stress level. The decrease in stress level is accounts for a general overall sense of well-being and an improved mood.
Exercising can improve psychological well-being. As mentioned by Weinberg & Gould (2011) exercise has been linked with benefiting the psychological aspects associated with a person’s life especially those qualities related to self-confidence, assertiveness, and alertness (P. 404). Increasing the amount of exercise that performed on a regular basis increases positive psychological indicators and decrease the likeliness of negative indicators. Some of the most common positive indicators increased are: perception, self-control, tranquility, confidence, and intellectual functioning. Some of the most common negative indicators are: depression, anxiety, anger, tension, and substance abuse.
Weinberg & Gould (2011) also state that exercise can enhancing a person’s quality of life because it alters their perception of their situation in life in a positive manner (P. 409). People that exercise regularly typically demonstrate more confidence in their social and physical actions. They have also been known to improve their self-esteem. These improvements are what led to a higher inclination to accept their current social situation or not have the fear to try and improve it.
The majority of the Cons of exercise are based on improper perceptions and apprehension to try new things. Others are typically related to improper techniques and ignorance of the subject. Regardless of the perception there are still some key components to the Cons of exercising. Some of these misperceptions are listed below.
Exercising causes more damage to my body than good. Some people engage in a workout program only to eventually drop it based on pain and discomfort from the activities that they are performing. Regardless of the reason, pain is a legitimate reason to discontinue an activity. Unfortunately, these individuals typically discontinue exercising at all when it simply may have been a modification to their routine that was needed. People often attempt to participate in activities that are beyond their body’s current capabilities and it leads to injury and intense body pain. The pain response can triggers a desire to forgo the exercising entirely. It is important that a person engaging in a new routine begin with something that is only low-moderate in intensity and gradually increase to higher intensity routines. This gradual increase will alleviate some of the pain associated with new exercises and also decrease the likeliness of dropping the routine.
Exercising takes too long and my daily routine cannot encompass additional physical activity. This notion is understandable based on the high demands that society has placed on working class adults. The probably that people with this excuse have is that they are not creatively thinking about ways to increase their activity levels during normal routines. For example, it might be possible to take a bicycle to and from work each day rather than drive a car. It might also be possible to take two minutes out of every hour to perform some office place push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, or power squats. Other examples include going for a quick jog with the family dog or taking the baby stroller out for a few laps around the neighborhood. This type of exercise is often over looked because it does not fit into the typical definition of an exercise routine; however, they can all provide a positive benefit to a person’s overall physical health and mental well-being.
It is obvious from the above list that the benefits of exercising far outweigh the downside. Based on this information alone it is easy to understand why so many people actually do make a decent effort to adhere to some form of workout plan. Even if the action is simple and relatively low intensity it can still prove to be beneficial when compared to stagnation. A great example of a low-intensity workout plan that can jump start a more rigorous routine is walking. Adhering to a walking program can be a fun and adventurous method of beginning a workout program and it is especially easy to adhere to if it is completed with a friend or relative. As depression, diabetes, and hypertension rates increase within our society it is becoming increasingly more important to establish physical fitness as a pillar of our lives. Exercising regularly is a vital element of living a longer healthy life both physically and psychologically.
Weinberg, R., & Gould, D. (2011). Foundations of sport and exercise psychology. Champaign,
IL: Human Kinetics