Remember Hilda? We talked about her before 2019 came to a close as a representation of what we ought to be: happy, experiencing joy in life’s adventures, and comfortable in her skin body. In other words, she’s a manifestation of self-love — active and self-assured, and with a beaming smile that screams pure happiness. This is the kind of love we all must aspire to have and intentionally cultivate. One way to achieve this is to exercise, which is a vital component of loving thyself. Read below to find out why…
It improves mental health
Central to self-love is feeling good about yourself, and you can do that only if you have positive self-esteem. Exercise can help, with the study ‘Exercise for Mental Health’ detailing how regular physical activity works wonders for one’s mental and emotional state. Exercise, in particular, can help enhance your self-esteem, while reducing anxiety, stress, and negativism — three things that can compromise your ability to feel good about yourself. Incidentally, you’ll gain a greater appreciation of your body when you regularly do Pilates. As long as you do your best, stay consistent, and keep smiling, you’ll find reasons to be grateful for your amazing body and the things it can do. This will improve your self-esteem, and by extension, your mental health.
It gives you energy
Self-love also means being able to do all the things you love. That’ll be possible only if you have enough energy every day. Incidentally, one of the benefits of exercise is improved energy levels. In fact, Harvard Health lists exercise among the best natural energy boosters, in part because it stimulates the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine — hormones that boost energy levels in moderate amounts. Exercise also gives your cells a lot more calories to burn, aside from allowing oxygen to circulate more freely in the body. With your energy levels up, you’ll then be able to do everything you want in life.
It increases your awareness of healthy diet choices
Health website Healthline’s feature on the healthy eating-exercise connection emphasises that nutrition is vital for fitness. Since the right nutrition can help you power through your Pilates or workout routine, you can also take this time to revisit your eating habits and see what you can change. By changing up other lifestyle habits, you’re on track to create more long-lasting change in your overall well-being.
It enhances mind-body awareness
We discussed the many benefits of Pilates in our post ‘Why Pilates’, and one of the more notable points is that it enables deeper mind-body awareness. It’s true for exercise in general, though it’s magnified in Pilates, whose focus is on feeling every body movement you are performing in every one of your routines. It’s technically called proprioception, and is very similar to conscious movement — described by NBC as slow and careful movement highlighting the mind-body connection. Its main benefit is that it lessens your risk of injury, as you’re fully aware of what your body needs, as well as which body parts need more attention. In this way, you can go about life and keep doing the things you want to do without worrying about aches and pains.
The benefits of exercise are endless — but all of them work towards helping you develop some self-love which is such an important aspect of true happiness. Once you start showing your body some genuine love and care, your mental and physical well being will benefit, but more than that, you’ll find it easier to love you for who you are already.
Written exclusively for Thepilatesklinik.com.au