Over the past many years, mind-body wellness has opened new doors, not only for the fitness industry in general, but for every client it serves. While it’s conceivable that all forms of movement and fitness connect mind and body, formats developed over the past 10–15 years are much more specific to the task. Today, the “inner” exploration tied to the physical is holistic and inclusive, interwoven with elements such as meditation, mindful nutrition, self- efficacy and positive psychology. Successfully combined in a well-rounded plan for clients, it is a powerful package.
Each June, we devote an issue of the magazine to exploring new horizons in the mind-body realm. The features in this issue may be the most progressive we’ve ever tackled. In fact, 10 years ago it may have seemed “out there” to cover the topics they address; today, it makes total sense.
Train Yourself Happy
Our first feature, written by contributing editor Shirley Archer, JD, MA, discusses the role of exercise in alleviating depression and anxiety. Societally, mental health issues are still a “closed door” topic to some extent. Compelling science supporting the role of exercise as part of a treatment and maintenance plan continues to mount and should provide hope for those who suffer from these difficulties.
Archer writes: “Experts offer multiple reasons why exercise positively impacts mental health; most agree it’s likely a combination of indirect and direct factors. Better circulation and reduced inflammation, boosts in psychological outlook, exposure to positive environmental factors, and perceptual and behavioral shifts are all ‘side effects’ of exercise that enhance mental health.”
She describes research that shows how exercise may improve mental health by enhancing physiological health; by raising tolerance for emotional stress; by increasing familiarity with physical stress; by boosting self-efficacy; by fostering social contact; by increasing exposure to the outdoors, sunlight and green environments; by diverting negative thinking; and by encouraging engagement instead of avoidance.
Each of us likely knows someone who suffers from a mood disorder or other mental health issue. For that reason and in the spirit of healing through exercise, we urge you to prioritize this compelling read.
We are well-versed in covering the science and practical application of sensible nutrition at IDEA. It has long been a part of our lineup and continues to grow rapidly both in our education and as an area of product focus. In our second feature, author Terry Mosey—who holds a doctoral degree in holistic nutrition and is a graduate of culinary studies— provides a holistic approach to nourishment that includes much more than counting calories and grams or assessing chemical composition.
This article explores the five elements theory and the chakra system and applies their basic principles to nutrition in an omnidirectional, integrated manner, writes Mosey. "If you view food as the medicine and a way of life, nutrition takes on a different meaning and purpose. Nourishing the physical being is only one aspect of the eating experience. When you expand your viewpoint, your relationship to food and eating becomes a reflection of how you live. Cravings, aversions and preferred eating environments provide messages on a deeper level. Food becomes a potential pathway for healing and self-exploration," she says. More great material to consider!