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Exercise and Self Help Development

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To improve our self help development we need to gain control of our minds and the influences that affect it. Rarely however is a parallel drawn between regular exercise and our self help development.

Mental health charities have long understood that good, regular exercise has a beneficial effect on our attitude. Studies, such as the one undertaken by Kings College, London and the University of Bergen, show that people who spend time in regular moderate physical activity are less prone to mental health issues.

We all know that physical exercise releases feel-good endorphins into the body and these natural stimulants give us a healthy high but research also shows exercise can have a greater influence on our self help development. Attitude can be much improved by regular exercise but it is not entirely clear why this might be.

Nonetheless the results are clear; those who exercise regularly have a better attitude in general. It could be that we start to feel better about the way we look as we lose weight and our body operates more effectively and, as exercise helps us sleep better and encourages better oxygen distribution, we will become more alert and able to make good decisions.

Cyclist With Bag Riding With Ancient Spires Behind

What type of exercise works best on our self help development?

Since one of the obstacles to exercising regularly is getting into the habit, the best exercise for you is the one you enjoy. Nonetheless, you do not have to run a marathon to get the activity you need. A good walk or regular cycling or swimming will give you the exercise you need. And you can fit it into your normal routine too.

Stop using the car for short journeys and get into the habit of walking and cycling to your destination instead. Travel to work on foot or on a bicycle. If you do need to take the car, park at the far end of the supermarket car park, if shopping, or in a car park further away and walk in. If you take public transport, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.

If you can, take your exercise in the countryside as this will further enhance your mood and improve your self help development.

Find exercise in your daily routine in other ways too: gardening can provide a good workout, as can vigorous housework or do it yourself projects.

Local clubs and facilities offer a great variety of activities too. Find out what is in your area and try something. Swimming is great and joining a group activity will have social benefits too: you may make new friends who will support you in getting the exercise you need.

Particularly good ways of improving your self help development through activity exist in the form of martial arts (particularly ta’i chi), yoga or Pilates. Such activities help you understand and love your body. My experience has been in the area of martial arts and you really can feel how your body operates: In this way you come to realise how the human body is an amazing mechanism. Activities of this type can be particularly useful as they often include philosophies that compliment the pursuit of self help development.

Getting regular exercise can provide a type of moving meditation as well as making you feel better about yourself. I believe this gives you a great foundation from which to improve your self help development and your life.


“If a man achieves victory over this body, who in the world can exercise power over him? He who rules himself rules over the whole world.”

Vinoba Bhave

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