Psychologists believe the hectic pace of life and demanding workdays put immense strain on mental and brain health
Residents of the UAE and people around the world report high levels of stress and burnout, with brain fog, fragmented attention, inability to concentrate and poor memory among many disorders, say psychologists cognitions that accompany it.
Experts believe that the hectic pace of life and the demands of the work week put immense pressure on mental and brain health. “There is good news – you can do something not only to protect [yourself] against the toxic effects of stress, but also to reverse its effects,” said Dr Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist and Managing Director of The Lighthouse Arabia.
“You have the power to change your brain. All you have to do is lace up your running shoes,” Dr. Afridi said, quoting John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and internationally recognized expert. in neuropsychiatry.
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Residents of the United Arab Emirates, especially Dubai, are fortunate, however, as the emirate is keen to prioritize the physical and mental health of its citizens. Each year, the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) provides a new opportunity for the city and serves as a reminder of the importance of incorporating fitness and physical activity into daily routines.
As this year’s DFC has just ended, if you’re one of the 2.2 million people who took part, now is the time to make sure you continue your 30 minutes of daily exercise – not just for your physical health , but also for your mental health.
Dr. Afridi notes 3 reasons why exercise improves mental well-being and protects against stress. “Exercise protects against the effects of toxic stress on your brain, raises your stress threshold, and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety while inducing euphoric feelings,” Dr. Afridi said.
So how does exercise improve mood and reduce stress?
Dr. Lakshmi Saranya, a clinical psychologist at Mediclinic Deira, said exercise induces blood flow to the brain, stimulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to improve your mood. “Exercise influences the limbic system, which is responsible for improving your mood or motivation.”
“It reduces fear or anxiety in response to stress, and also helps [with] improve the functioning of the hippocampus… the part responsible for memory.
Here are Dr. Saliha Afridi’s tips for residents of the country to optimize brain performance:
- Do some form of aerobic activity for 45 to 60 minutes, six days a week. That’s about 250 to 300 minutes of aerobic activity per week.
- On four of the six days, try to aim for longer workouts at 60-75% of your maximum heart rate (moderate-intensity exercise). The remaining two days per week can be shorter at 75% of your maximum heart rate (high intensity exercise).
- Find something you enjoy doing, whether it’s running, HIIT, swimming or tennis or even a combination of all of these, and practice it every day, because the best exercise is the one you can come back to. again and again.
Psychologists note that the fitness challenge is a very exciting opportunity and a reminder of the importance of integrating fitness and physical activity into our daily lives.
“DFC assumes responsibility for the health of the inhabitants of the city through the integration of social measures [that also serve as] reminders to [maintain] a balance within oneself and with the environment,” said Dr. Saranya.
“Health-related behaviors can be improved through health promotion programs [like these]. [They] enhance a person’s motivation and competitive spirit to stay healthy,” she concluded.
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