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Exercise for a Good Mental Attitude

Healthy living

Healthy Living

Aging Well / / November 23, 2008

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While improving your health is the primary reason for exercise, it also helps you feel better about yourself. And I don't just mean feeling good about the way you look.

Fitness trainer Barbara Brandt was the person who got me started on this path.

When Joan started training with me, she was working on the tangible: looking at the scale and saying, "Am I a good girl today or a bad girl? Am I worthy? Do I deserve?" Joan was going back out into the single world, and felt she needed to feel good about herself Everybody wants to look good, to feel comfortable tucking in her T-shirt.

I remember the time when she finally realized that there was so much more to exercise than seeing the numbers on the scale move down. Joan was going through her divorce and sometimes she would be upset. She knew that a strategy for her emotional well-being was getting on the treadmill. She knew that when she'd get on the treadmill, she'd feel like one person, and when she'd get off she'd feel like another.

Here's a person who had little time to sleep. And I can't tell you the number of times she called me or reported to me the next day and said, "You know, I really should have been in bed. But I knew I wasn't going to fall asleep. I was too stressed out. I went down and I did an hour on the treadmill. I went to bed feeling like a new person."

Ironically, it was by getting serious about exercise that I was able to get off my emotional treadmill and stop being so self-critical. While looking good in jeans is terrific, it's the reduced stress, increased energy, and feeling of accomplishment I get from exercise that will really do the job.

"I've worked with a lot of people and I have never seen anybody satisfied with an aesthetic goal," says. Pat Manocchia, fitness trainer and owner of La Palestra Gym in New York City. "Once a certain body part shrinks, they want to make another one bigger. However, if someone can actually do some-thing they've never been able to do before their whole self image seems to change. Accomplishment is the best form of motivation. Ultimately you have to decide how you feel about yourself based on who you are inside, not because of a number on the scale.

"It's my belief that exercise can have a positive influence on all the other things in your life," says Pat, "and exercise is one factor that's very tangible and controllable. You can't really affect one part of your life without affecting the others in some way. And exercise makes people's lives better." says Pat. I guess that's why Pat made a career choice to help people reach their fitness goals and to improve their overall health and well being.

Categories: Emotional Health, Fitness
About The Author
Healthy living
In Joan Lunden's Healthy Living, Joan shares her discovery of the mind-body connection and explains how an this connection can help to promote better health physically and emotionally -- and create a feeling of overall satisfaction in life. Joan Lunden explains, "Not that long ago I was unfit, unhealthy, and not at all happy about it. Now I feel as alive and energetic as I ever have. Each of us can make a choice to turn our lives around."
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