Habits are like addictions. Its extremely difficult to let go of them once our mind and body is attuned to it. Forming a habit takes time (and of course practice) and un-forming a habit takes even more time. Exercise is one of those habits that’s difficult to get into the groove but once our mind is fixed on it the day remains incomplete without performing it. Physical education (PE) hasn’t gained much prominence in our country, there are not many schools which insist on PE as much as academics. Such educational institutions can never become the cornerstone of physical activity and habit formation. Whereas, as parents we are obligated to nurture our children with the best of characters, personality and habits with relentless efforts. Once children grow up with a defined set of habits what exactly is their mindset when they are suddenly told to unfollow some of them?
Forming &Un-forming Habits
Exercise is as important as brushing our teeth or going to sleep. There can be no excuses accepted for refraining from exercising except when our own health doesn’t permit it. Every nutritionist, dietitian and health expert recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on at least five days a week to stay in shape and be fit. Why don’t you get your lifestyle corrected with the needed diet changes and exercise practices by getting in touch with reputed dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com? Once we get used to any form of exercise-walking, jogging, gym, aerobics or a sport-we look forward to it with eagerness and enthusiasm. There are studies supporting the fact that exercising is good for mental as well as physical health. It helps to relieve stress, bring in serenity and help the individual stay away from depression. So, can avoiding exercising or non-performance of any physical activity lead to depression in a person?
Though we are well-aware that exercising regularly can reduce depression we are not quite aware of what happens to these depressive symptoms when exercise is stopped. This attracted a group of researchers who reviewed studies that looked into the case of 152 adults (50 were women) who stopped exercising. Each of them was habituated to exercising at least for 30 minutes thrice a week for the past three months. Researchers were surprised to know that stopping to exercise triggered symptoms of depression in some people after three days itself while some others started experiencing depression symptoms a week or two after halting the physical activity. Also, female participants exhibited pronounced symptoms compared to their male counterparts.
We cannot come to definite conclusions from this because the above study looked into aerobic exercise only, without taking account of resistance training or mixed exercise. While the area of research seems to be quite interesting there are no solid evidences or authentic proofs that help us derive the conclusion that halting exercising increases chances of depression. We are left with many unanswered questions here-Does an individual get depression even when he/she is forced to abort activity due to some injury? For someone whose depression levels are always imbalanced does stopping activity for a couple of days show evident changes?
But, the grounds on which this research is done highlights the benefits of exercising once again. It is always appreciable to make a habit of some physical activity, stick to it and continue performing it to reap benefits. Don’t go by what the society norms state-walking, gym or Zumba are not the only ones available. Choose something that your heart yearns for. If you love sports, choose something between football or tennis, if you are an extrovert you can always opt for group fitness classes and if you are an introvert it is never wrong to perform some physical exercises all by yourself in the comfort of your home or go for a quick jog in the lush green park outside.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.