“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy
The relationship between physical and mental health has been studied and well-documented. However, not much is known about the link or correlation between the two subjects.
Julius Ohrnberger, Eleonora Ficherab, and Matt Sutton in their article titled, “The relationship between physical and mental health: A mediation analysis,” published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine, acknowledge that “there is a strong link between mental health and physical health, but little is known about the pathways from one to the other.”
Thus, for the purpose of this article, we shall acknowledge this link and accept that the “how and why” is outside of this content’s scope.
The importance of exercise and physical fitness
The quotation mentioned above by John F. Kennedy highlights the fact that physical fitness does not only play a fundamental role in maintaining a healthy body, it also improves “dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” In other words, exercise not only improves physical health, but it also improves mental and emotional well-being, and it stimulates the creative and intellectual thought processes.
Additionally, medical experts like Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. believe that it is vital to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, five days a week. It is vital to note that this is moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Going for a slow stroll will not have the same effect as moderate-intensity exercise like running, walking briskly, or swimming lengths in a pool.
The advantages of joining a fitness club
Therefore, the question that must be asked and answered is not whether you should exercise or not. Instead, it is where and how you should exercise.
The straightforward answer to this question is that it does not matter whether you get your exercise outdoors or whether you join a fitness club. Here are several benefits to signing up with the local fitness club:
Mitigate severe weather events
In reality, the practice of getting enough exercise per week outdoors without out joining a gym or fitness club is more challenging than the theory would dictate. Climate change with its related severe weather events such as heatwaves, snowstorms due to the Polar Vortex, blizzards, earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons are on the increase.
Thus, it is essential to arrange an indoor exercise venue that is artificially heated or cooled to ensure that you do not overheat (or freeze) during your exercise session.
It is exceptionally challenging to embark on an exercise program on your own, without any support from family, friends, and peers. In fact, the converse is likely to be true. It’s easier to give up or find excuses not to exercise when you don’t feel like it or are feeling emotionally out of sorts.
A circle of like-minded friends will help you get through the tough days when it is easier not to exercise.
At a fitness club, personal trainers or professional instructors are always available to help you learn to use the machines and new exercises safely and without injuring yourself. They are also able to take pre-existing physical conditions into account and to guide you on how to perform a particular activity.
Fixed fitness classes
A fitness club or gym usually offers classes in activities like Yoga, Pilates, as well as aqua-related exercise classes. Therefore, it is a simple matter to schedule your weekly exercise by signing up for a variety of these sessions. Additionally, all of these classes will be instructor-led; therefore, if you have any lingering injuries, it’s vital to inform your instructor. Otherwise, the risk of re-injury will be extremely high.
This article has highlighted the benefits of physical exercise in a group setting without going into depth about the related emotional and mental benefits of being physically fit. This point does not mean that emotional and mental well-being is secondary to physical health. They are, in fact, a fundamental part of the raison d’etre for getting out and exercising.
Finally, as mentioned above more than once, one of life’s questions is not about whether you exercise or not. Instead, it is about how and where you exercise!