Home Health and Fitness Your mindset and Exercise determines your health

Your mindset and Exercise determines your health

Health is something very important and is interlinked with mindset and exercise. One should be concerned about it. But most of think we are fit and healthy if we don’t have any disease. But this is not the case. There are positive and negative energies around us which affect our brain activity and ultimately have huge impact on our lives. Ultimately these things affect our decisions as well. If your New Year’s exercise management has already failed, don’t look at the list to do. Just look for the things you have done and you can do easily.

This has been revealed by a new research which shows a surprising connection between people’s thinking and their health. If you are too negative about your physical activity, you might think that you’re unfit. Scientists at Stanford University in the US looked at mortality data for 61,000 adults. For 21 years, dozens of measures were taken, including how much people exercised crucially, and how much exercise they thought they did as compared to others of their age, during that time some of the participants had died from a range of illnesses as well.

Analyzing the various factors that might have contributed to the participants’ health, the researchers discovered something extraordinary. People who thought they weren’t doing as much exercise as their peers died younger than those who thought they did more, even when the actual amount of exercise they did was the same.

Exercise does of course add to your average life expectancy, but this study suggests that perceptions of exercise make a difference too. The study’s author Octavia Zahrt from Stanford University told that personal experience prompted the research. When she moved to graduate school in California she found herself surrounded by people dressed in their gym kit, who always seemed to be on their way to or from exercising.

Zahrt’s claim might seem extraordinary, but there are at least three possible reasons why our perceptions of exercise could affect our health.  The first is simply that we feel stressed if we think we’re not active enough. Bombarded by health messages and seeing everyone exercising all the time, might cause us to worry a lot and this kind of chronic stress could damage our health.  

Or is it down to motivation? Perhaps if you already think you’re active your image of yourself as an athletic person encourages you to do even more exercise to fit in with this image. if you believe you are less fit than your friends, you’re less likely to be doing any exercise at all a year later.

Considering what we know about group norms and how most of us like to do what we know other people are doing, this is surprising. But maybe we find it too discouraging if our friends do more than us and then we give up altogether.

A third explanation involves the opposite of the placebo effect. It’s long been established that beliefs about the strength of a painkiller, for example, can influence its effectiveness in the body. The opposite is the nocebo, where if you have negative expectations, the physiological effect of a treatment is reduced. So perhaps people were in fact as active as their friends, but didn’t realize it, and so they missed out on some of the benefits. 

Take hotel housekeepers. Just by doing their daily work they are getting plenty of exercise, walking up and down hotel corridors, pushing heavy trolleys of towels, scrubbing baths, vacuuming and changing sheets. But a study in 2007 found they didn’t count this as exercise. Then, Alia Crum, also from Stanford University told half these hotel housekeepers just how much exercise they were getting and why this benefitted them.

Four weeks later, this group of housekeepers had lost weight and had lower blood pressure. Once they viewed work as an opportunity to exercise, it had more of a physical impact on them. Perhaps they began vacuuming more energetically or maybe it was down to the placebo effect.

All this shows that our perceptions about age correlate with health outcomes. You may have noticed that these three possible explanations parallel the possible mechanisms in the first study on how much exercise you do compared with your friends. We don’t yet have all the answers, but there is something interesting going on here and it’s becoming increasingly clear that our perceptions about our own health and fitness matter.

This leaves public health officials in a tricky position. They need us to know how much exercise we should be doing if we want to stay healthy. On the other hand research like this suggests if the targets are too high, we’ll be even more discouraged. Until we know which of these mechanisms is making the biggest difference to life expectancy we can’t know what will work. So mindset about exercise is really important and gives more strength, activates your mental abilities as well as physical health.

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