Body & health
Is exercise the new therapy of choice? We can totally get behind that!
Is exercise the new therapy? And, do you buchu?
is it just us, or is the sun in permanent retreat these days? From politics to TV shows, even little things we used to love now seem to have an anxious, apocalyptic tinge to them. Perhaps that’s why more and more people are gravitating toward the gym, where the latest crazes have less to do with fixing your body than with clearing your mind.
“Scientific evidence supports that regular cardiovascular exercise like running, swimming and cycling, has been shown to be as effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression and anxiety as anti-depressant medication,” says Dr Leigh Gordon, a sports physician at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.
Celeb fitness pro Nicole Winhoffer has earned the hashtag #Nwchurch for classes with a confessional, motivational style and end-of-session sermons. “Listen to your intuition,” she said, after two hours of a toning and cardio dance. “If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.”
In Nicole’s classes, the instructor is as vulnerable as the students, opening up the floor for honest conversations and intense workouts.
Then there’s Angela Manuel-davis, a Soulcycle instructor known for her nonstop energy and mantras, like “Your struggle introduces you to your strength.” With her intense training and impassioned voice, it’s no wonder powerhouses like Oprah are fans.
“When we are physically challenged, we are being emotionally cracked open at the same time,” she says. “At those times, encouragement, reinforcement, inspiration and love can be poured in.”
Nicole and Angela are two of the best at packing mantras into their methods, but they’re hardly the first. “This idea that you can mix contemplative traditions with movement goes back thousands of years. Meditative practices like yoga and tai chi include aspects of both,” says Dr Brandon Alderman, an associate professor of kinesiology and health.
Dr Alderman is currently leading a study on meditation and running as a way to treat depression. “Engaging in meditation may boost the benefits of exercise. Though we’re just beginning to study the relationship between the two, I suspect that if meditative practices enhance the overall experience of exercise, it may also motivate people to be more active.”
If there’s one thing we could all use more of right now, it’s a little positive reinforcement.