What does exercise do to you?

May 28, 2012

Or should I ask you “what does exercise do for you”?.   I guess they sound very much the same, but in reality one is as different from the other as a cricket ball is from a foot ball.   Everyone knows that exercise keeps you fit and healthy.   Well, that is something exercise does for you,  but do you know what it does to you to keep you fit and healthy?  I think we still have not learned to receive the gifts of exercise and take for granted whatever that is gained from spending about an hour doing exercise.

It is like owning a bike.  You could ride to office, curse the moments you spend on the road, having to deal with the reckless riders and drivers around you,  bear with all the dust blowing into your nostrils and mouth and at the end of it, curtly thank the bike for getting you to the office on time.   You could also listen to drone of the engine, revel in its speed, marvel at your ability to balance on two wheels that is about three inches in width,  let all the wind hit you on the face and body, see each moment when you have to apply brakes and change gears as an interesting & challenging maneuver and at the end of it, reach your office with a smile and feeling good.

More than 70% of the people who exercise everyday, do so only because they feel should or they have to.  They are either plump or obese or need to exercise to meet certain prescriptions meted out to them by their physicians.   Much more than fitness is to be gained from exercise, if only we knew how to receive them.

From the moment you start your exercise, your mind is forced to adapt to the stress induced by  exercise.  Whatever you do gets recorded in your mind and the mind commands the body to adapt to the stress, just so that things start to get easier.  The body pays heed and makes necessary preparations to meet the challenge and thus improves in strength and stamina.   The mind is always focused intently on the intensity of exercise and soon, a certain type of conditioning takes over.  This means that the mind does not have to concentrate so much as it did the previous days and starts to “wander” away from the task at hand.  This does not, in anyway, mean that the performance will be affected, but only that further improvement comes in slower than before.   It is not always just lack of focus that has slowed you down, but it is definitely one of the major reasons.

Now, the mind also start to develop some muscle.  The more intense your workout becomes, the more focused the mind becomes and thereby, improves in its efficiency to concentrate.   Most people can sense that they have reached this far,  but are unable to make most of this condition.   A hard working athlete or sportsperson is almost always the least stressed mentally and he can always handle his emotional problems better than normal people.   I would like you to go to any stadium or any other place where you can watch some women athletes do their rounds of exercise.  They seem to be the least self conscious of all people.  They can simply walk past a few guys who are staring hard at every inch of their body drooling all over the place and yet not seem affected by the stares at all.  This is so because, inadvertently she has brought in her power of the mind to focus better on the problem at hand and has been able to keep away the unwanted negative thoughts.    If you are a competitive sportsperson, you will find that there is no verbal chattering or distractive thoughts when you are playing a match.  Most people hardly even hear the crowd cheering, but only focused on the job at hand.

Exercise produces certain chemical changes in the brain.  One such change brings in a compound or neurotransmitter called the “Serotonin”, which gives you a feeling of well being.  In fact, this compound is produced more when you eat dark chocolates or sweets and may be responsible for some eating disorders in people who are emotionally very depressed or stressed.  This is especially obvious in the case of mentally depressed women, who take to eating lots of sugar coated food or chocolates or sweets that translate into increase in fat levels.

Remembering to concentrate on the task at hand is all that one needs to do to bring about the best effects of exercise on the mind.  By giving such a command, the mind, which is used to focusing hard during the time of physical training,  simply blocks all negative thoughts that keeping flooding in.   Most of the emotional problems cease to exist if only the mind would cease to relive or re-enact or prophecy the imminent advent of a stressful event.   So physical exercise is an important integral part of keeping oneself emotionally healthy.

The physical effects are multi fold.  A major change is the effect on insulin insensitivity.  Haven’t you seen these ‘lucky guys’ who can eat the whole day and lose weight, when you could gain a few pounds just watching them eat?  Bad eating habits has created such a condition as insulin insensitivity, which can cause you to gain weight even when you eat less than you should.  Yes, exercise simply allows you to get away with eating a lot more than you should.  The football players, swimmers and most hard training athletes are examples of such metabolic condition.  Of course, it does not mean that all you need to do is walk a few meters until you sweat a little bit and then gorge on all goody goodies you like. If you need to have a metabolism that will help you get away with a bit of overeating, it should be an intense workout that will last about 30-45 minutes.

Are you the kind of person who couldn’t wait to get bed and get as much as sleep as possible, ignoring your wife’s nudges and subtle hints and suggestions? Your excuse in the morning is almost always the same, isn’t it?  “Had so much work in the office.  Was too tiring and couldn’t think of anything else”.  Do you realize the biggest lie you ever said is “Now I am more matured and sensible, sex and lust do not rule my mind now.”?   Isn’t that a very shrewd way of fooling others and also accepting the fact that you are almost a ‘good-for-nothing’ now?  Do you hear a low moan deep in your heart when you say that?

Being sexually active is very important to do your best in life.  Almost everything in a man-woman relationship ultimately boils down to enjoying good sex life.  Everything, from the way you dress to the car you drive, your mannerisms, your desire to succeed in life can be indicative of or connected to a healthy sexual relationship you enjoy.

Needless to say, a depressed person may not be able maintain an aroused sexual passion, which leads to further mood swings and heightened depression.   Well, here is something else exercise does to you.  It could turn you back into the animal that you were, when you were eighteen years old, if only you would use the power of your mental muscle and physical energy derived from working out hard.  I am just letting some hard facts sink in just so that you do not go too soft on your flaccid ego that has given up on the best moments of your life.

Yes, exercise is a form of meditation.  Your approach and involvement should be akin to how you would enjoy a chocolate; letting it melt in your mouth, rolling your tongue over and over the sweet paste of chocolate,  savouring every moment of it, not wanting it to end and craving for more the moment all the sweetness has disappeared into the cavernous cavity of your stomach.   The only physical activity or exercise that comes as close to this feeling is a coital embrace lasting a few minutes.   If you can approach exercise with the same mind set,  a certain intensity that reflects your mood to do your best and a passion spurred on by a desire to be better at it than anyone, then and only then do you get to see what exercise does to you.  And when the effects of your physical start to sink in, take root in your system, your body & mind start to reap the fruits of your hard work and enjoy life with a zest that was hitherto unknown to your lethargic self.


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