English 102, Essay #1
September 17, 2012
Improving Your Quality of Life Through Exercise
Adding exercises into one’s daily routines can change their whole lifestyle. Many people look at exercise as being something just for people who want to lose weight or to add muscle and bulk up, but there are a great deal of benefits that can be received from exercising regularly. Gaining muscle and losing fat are the two most popular reasons that people make their way to the local gym, but they only make up a small portion of the benefits that you may receive through exercise. There are many ways that exercise can improve one’s quality of life other than just weight management. According to a Surgeon General’s report titled, Physical Activity and Health, “despite common knowledge that exercise is healthful, more than 60 percent of American adults are not regularly active, and 25 percent of the adult population are not active at all” (Surgeon General). Exercising benefits you both mentally and physically and is as good for your head as it is for your heart. First off exercise has a major impact mentally on one’s self-esteem. Self-esteem is related more closely to body image than any other single element of self (Fox 411-418) The saying of, “If you look good, you feel good” can be applied in this situation. I know that personally when I feel I look good or receive a compliment saying I look good than I have more confidence throughout my day. With the improvement of physical features through exercise comes an improved perception of one’s self and therefore an increase in self-esteem. (Fox 411-418) Kenneth Fox, the author of “The Influence of Physical Activity on Mental Well-Being” also has another theory on how exercise can have a positive effect on self-esteem. Fox says exercise can have a positive impact on self-esteem based on mastery and self-determination. (Fox 411-418) For most people, including myself, it feels great to have control of something. With self-determination and regular exercise we have control over our health and the way our body looks. I have also experienced an increase in my confidence in another way. While in high school I was an athlete and I used sports as my main way of exercise. While in sports I felt as sense of belonging and made many of my closest friends through working out together. As a team we would exercise together, and in return we would notice each others results and build even more confidence off of the compliments we were receiving. Another mental benefit that exercise can provide is a distraction for one’s mind and it helps you to stop worrying as much. If someone continually worries then it is likely to increases his or her stress and may lead to a case of depression. Exercise can provide a distraction or “time-out” from the stressors and worries of everyday life. (Dayley) While exercising you are able to concentrate on the exercise and the form of the exercise only. While working out you learn to control your breathing pattern and take deeper and slower breaths and in return calming you down. As a teenager I was lucky to have an uncle who was a certified personal trainer. My uncle would workout with me at least three days a week to ensure that I learned proper form while lifting weights. If you use the wrong form while performing certain lifts than you greatly increase the chances of an injury. I can remember my uncle’s voice to this day telling me to go slower and to concentrate more. He insisted that I visualize the muscle working and to concentrate on my breathing. At the time I would get annoyed by him constantly criticizing my every movement and facial expression, but now that I look back on it he taught me the best way to cope with stress. What I mean is that while I was in the gym, the little worries of a teenager, which at the time seemed like a huge deal, meant nothing to me. I was able to take my mind off everyday worries such as girls,...
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Fox , Kenneth. "The Influence of Physical Activity on Mental Well-Being." Public Health Nutrion. 2. (199): 411-418. Web. 16 Sep 2012.
Craft, Lynette. "The benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed." The Primary Care Companion. The Association of Medicine and Psychiatry, 2004. Web. 16 Sep 2012.
General, Surgeon. "Physical Activity and Health." Center for Chronic Disease. N.p., 17 NOV 1999. Web. 18 Sep 2012.
Dayley, Amanda. "Exercise Therapy and Mental Health in Clinical Populations." Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. N.p., 2002. Web. 18 Sep 2012.
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