Born to Run

born-to-run‘Health is Wealth’ it is said and rightly so. For, if you are enjoying  good health (physical as well as mental), you have the capability to chase your dreams with all the energy that you require. Good body health is directly related to sound mental health. Let us understand why physical and mental fitness is so important.

We know that good health can be attained by regular exercise and by consumption of healthy food, but do we put this into practice?

Unfortunately, good health becomes a priority less by choice, more by compulsion.
You can employ someone to drive your car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear sickness for you. Material things lost can be regained. But there is one thing that can never be reclaimed when it is lost – life.

depressionAllow me to share my own story.
When I was going through turmoil in my personal life, one thing that saved me from going into depression or other mental disorders was that I always gave my health a top priority because amidst this chaos I loved myself deeply and did not want to give up on myself! Despite of what was happening behind the closed doors I never missed my yoga sessions thrice a week with extended meditation. This helped to calm me down, de-clutter my mind and reach out to my soul. I could take the right decisions in life rather than getting stuck in self pity. My dance and aerobic sessions on other days of the week pumped up endorphins (feel good hormones) levels and gave me hope and added ‘life’ to my otherwise hopeless and aimless life. In addition to the fitness regime were the healthy eating habits which were ingrained in me since childhood thanks to my health freak father. I strongly feel that my peak physical fitness played a major in stopping me from throwing it all away. For, at that point of time when despair engulfed me, I was close to committing suicide.

So, let’s examine what constitutes Good Health and Physical Fitness

Being fit is not a destination in itself but a way of life. Raise a toast to yourself and say Cheers! to life every time you take a step towards physical fitness no matter how small it is. Whether it be a one kilometre walk,  jog or run, half a Zumba session or a brief yoga session.

Exercises need not be barbaric and intense.
Most of us fall into ‘general fitness category’: 30-45 minutes of cardio 3-4 days of the week, 20 yogaminutes of  strength exercises twice a week and 10 mints flexibility exercises everyday. Remember to start with a warm up and end the session with stretching. During a workout we can all go from Zero to Hero and push hard but the safe way to train is to bring the body’s temperature up slowly and loosen up the muscles before we attempt anything serious. That’s what warm ups are designed to do. Stretching, on the other hand, is done in order to improve overall flexibility. Once muscles have been exercised, they are at their most compliant state or contracted hence required to be relaxed to prevent injuries and muscle soreness.

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.
It can help to:

1.Control your weight 

2.Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease

3.Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome

4.Reduce your risk of some cancers

5.Strengthen your bones and muscles

6.Improve your mental health and mood

7.Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you’re an older adult

8.Increase your chances of living longer

9.Improves your stamina and energy levels to perform activities better.

10.Boosts your confidence level.

Exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. Research indicates that even modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter what your age or fitness level is, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.


“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

Healthy diet is a diet which contains a balanced amount of nutrients, varied food such as fruits and vegetables, proteins primarily from fish, dairy products, lentils and nuts. Minimal amounts of caffeine, sugar, fat, salt, and alcohol.  Hence good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health physical and mental.

nutritionStudies show that nearly two thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day, compared with less than half of those who do report daily mental health problems. This pattern is similar for fresh vegetables and salad. Those who report some level of mental health problem also eat fewer healthy foods (fresh fruit and vegetables, organic foods and meals made from scratch) and more unhealthy foods (chips and crisps, chocolate, ready meals and takeaways).

A balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.

The food we eat goes further than our physical health. It can also affect ‘how we feel and how we act.’

Our diets affect our mental health in two ways:

  • directly
  • indirectly.

It affects mental health directly through the nutrients that control our hormones, and indirectly through the emotional impact of having a physical condition caused by an unhealthy diet. However, it seems to be common sense that a healthy body can help to maintain a healthy mind.

Some of the Brain food for good mental health are-

Protein is formed from amino acids, and used for growth and repair around the body. Chemical messengers, mainly formed from amino acids, are used to transport information to other parts of the brain, included signals about mood. Whilst the body can produce some of these amino acids itself, some must come from food.
Main sources of protein include:

  • milk and cheese
  • eggs
  • meat and fish
  • lentils and pulses ( vegetarian and vegan diet)

It is important that those on a vegetarian or vegan diet substitute dairy products, meat and fish for alternatives containing protein.

Whilst it is important not to consume too many fats, a certain amount is required to function well. Nerve cells in the brain are made up of fat, and need it to be flexible and work quickly.
Main sources of fat include:

  • oily fish, nuts and avocado
  • oils – vegetable, sunflower (some studies have shown that those suffering from schizophrenia have low levels of essential fatty acids.)
  • vitamins and minerals
  • vitamins and minerals help the body to convert amino acids and fatty acids into the brain
  • carbohydrates.

The body and brain run on glucose, which is found in carbohydrates. However, there are good and bad sources of carbohydrates. Good sources will release energy over time, helping you feel full longer.
Good carbohydrates include:

  • wholegrain
  • cereals
  • rice
  • Potatoes

Ending on a beautiful note,
“Treat your body as a temple, keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in” 

You only get one body. Show it some respect. You and your body deserve the best so make it a priority to keep it clean. Eat unprocessed foods that are high in nutrition. If you treat your body right it will treat you right. In the long run your body will either be your best friend or your own worst enemy. It’s all up to you!

We are Born to Run, not to crawl!

This Article is written by Guest Writer RUCHI VERMA  and edited by Vijay Nallawala

ruchi-vermaRuchi is Co-owner @ Vivafit Franchise, Sarjapur, Bangalore. A Certified Zumba and Body Balance Les mills Instructor, Classic Mat Pilates Trainer from FSSA and also a Certified Nutritionist.

Bipolar India and its thousands of readers are thankful to you for this comprehensive article on Fitness & Nutrition!

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