Staying fit does not always refer to keeping your bodies physically fit; it also means taking care of your mental health. Creating a fit state of mind is important for your wellbeing and has a direct impact on your physical fitness. Mental fitness is not about having the ability to perform faster mathematical calculations but it is characterized by a person’s balance, resilience, ability to enjoy life and self actualization.
Just like exercising the body is important to keep yourself physically fit, similarly exercising the brain is important to take care of your mental health. Performing physical activity and brain exercises helps in increasing the ability of the brain to develop and change throughout the life. Studies suggest that brain can rewire itself and grow new neurons or brain cells.
Points to ponder:
- Being mentally fit and healthy is not related to any particular age. You can be mentally healthy even at an older age if you exercise your brain at regular intervals.
- The memory loss that happens in old age in most cases is due to lack of adequate mental stimulation.
- People with mental illness are the not the only ones who should devote time and effort to nurture their mental health. Mental fitness is important for every individual.
Our lifestyles and habits have a significant influence upon how our brain functions. Learning, memory, and judgment are all affected by our style of living. Let’s understand the various ways in which we can stimulate the brain to strengthen its functioning and remain mentally fit.
- Cardiovascular fitness
Performing cardiovascular activities is an effective way to improve physical health but research shows that performing regular exercise can improve mental fitness. Though the exact mechanism of the process is unknown but it is believed that cardio training prevents the fall of brain cells with age.
Solving crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, logic puzzles, or word searches can open new pathways in the brain and helps to improve memory and reasoning skills. Exercising the brain by solving puzzles helps to improve the left brain function which uses logics and is detail oriented.
The mind loses its edge when it is overly patterned. Change your routine to build new patterns in the brain. For e.g. brush your teeth with the other hand, drive home through a new route or try changing your eating patterns. Challenging your brain by doing things differently stimulates the brain for increased mental fitness and flexibility.
Stress can hinder mental fitness. Relaxation techniques increase the level of oxygen in the brain and helps to relax your body and at the same time increases mental fitness. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercise, meditation, yoga, and visualization helps to overcome stress and enhances the performance of the brain.
Try to learn something new or take on a new challenge at every age. Try joining a hobby class, learn a new language, learn to play a new instrument or start a new activity. Picking up a new activity challenges the brain and helps it to perform better.
Socializing with friends is important than any other type of exercise. When you meet people, discuss things with friends, you are learning and exercising your brain. The quality of your personal relationship also has a great effect on our overall wellbeing.
There is a deep connection between the mind and the body so to overlook the mental side of fitness is a great mistake. Practicing good mental health habits will not only help you to stay healthy but will also reduce the risk of developing psychiatric problems.