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Sinclair Cares: Fitness is more than physical look, mental health too

Sinclair Cares Fitness more about mental well-being than size.JPG
Sinclair Cares: Fitness more about mental well-being than size. Photo: SBG

Lose weight. Eat healthier. Get fit. Sound like promises you've made yourself?

If toning up is your target for 2020, you might want to change how you think about it.

"Fitness is more about your health and your mental well being rather than about a size," said Dr. Elisa Rudd, clinical manager, behavioral health services, Providence.

Portland Psychologist Rudd prefers to use the word movement instead of exercise.

When asked, "How can movement impact mental health?"

"A number of ways. When working with patients Ive often used the acronym MAAPSS," said Rudd.

Movement helps with anxiety, anger, pain, stress, and sadness.

And for some, it even helps battle other mental health challenges.

"I've struggled with alcohol and drug addiction since I was pretty young," said Emily Fox, a CrossFit coach.

Fox and Martin Camacho Bonilla have both struggled with substance abuse.

"Me helping you is helping me. It's helping me stay sober," said Martin.

They're now CrossFit coaches at "the recovery gym" in Portland, where fitness is truly about more than weight loss.

Here, classes are free five days a week for those recovering from addiction, trauma and mental health issues.

"For me, like getting a physical discipline, it locked in like a mental, emotional, and spiritual side of myself that I had never known," said Fox.

CrossFit classes are 60 minutes, but Rudd says even a 15-minute walk can boost your mood and just 30 minutes of cardio a day can help with depression, heart health, blood pressure and cholesterol.

"Gets those endorphins going and endorphins are the precursor to serotonin," said Rudd.

Serotonin is one of the hormones that makes you feel good.

"I always leave a lot happier," said Martin.

And chasing that high can give you the motivation to keep moving forward.

Rudd also suggests making your movement fun. She says if you can do that, just by accident you'll end up moving more.

Make sure to contact your doctor before you make any changes to your health routine.