I have a really bad fever right now. WORLD CUP FEVER!! This has been one of the most exciting World Cups that I have ever watched. It has been so much fun to see the big guys like Spain, Germany and Brazil get beat by underdog teams. I love how sports bring people together. I had a conversation in the grocery store line the other day with two people about the World Cup. I am sure we never would have talked to each other had the topic of the major upset of Russia beating Spain not come up.
Sports bring people together and are vital for our health – physical, mental and emotional. In honor of the month of July and the topic of Freedom we are focusing our blogs on the freedom to make choices. As Americans we are blessed with the freedom to makes choices that can be either good or bad for us. Making the choice to exercise is not easy to do. It is much easier to come up with excuses not to exercise. Not enough time, energy or money are the biggies.
Most of the time we hear that exercise is important to lose weight or gain muscle. I want to emphasize the emotional benefits of exercise. If you are inclined to play a team sport, like soccer, it is a great opportunity to connect with people. But even solitary exercise is good for the body and soul. In addition to soccer I love yoga, swimming and running on the treadmill.
For patients of mine that are depressed I will often prescribe exercise rather than antidepressants. It improves mood and mental health by increasing chemicals called endorphins in the brain that improve mood and relaxation. Physical activity reduces anxiety and depressed mood, and enhances self-esteem. I highly recommend it. Let the World Cup be your inspiration to work out for health!
Alicia González, ND, DHANP, CCH