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September is National Yoga Awareness Month

by Julianna Strano

 

Yoga is a form of movement that holds a great amount of popularity and is practiced by individuals around the globe. Yoga has been proven to release stress, improve physical and wellbeing, and increase the quality of life of those who practice it.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) explains that yoga is a form of movement that holds a great amount of history and wellness benefits.

“Yoga is an ancient and complex practice, rooted in Indian philosophy. It began as a spiritual practice but has become popular as a way of promoting physical and mental well-being,” as stated by NCCIH.

Many individuals workout and get movement each day; yoga is a common form of movement that holds popularity around the globe. One study found that there are about 300 million people worldwide who practice yoga. Another study completed by NCCIH found that in 2017 about ​​one in seven U.S. adults had practiced yoga that year.

Every year, many initiatives to spread awareness of the practice of yoga and all of the benefits that it brings occur in September.

The National Health Institute of Health states on their website, “September is National Yoga Month! The purpose of this month is to promote the health benefits of yoga and inspire a healthy lifestyle.”

Yoga is an exercise that can be modified to fit various skill levels. It can also be practiced just about anywhere and does not require equipment or a gym space, making it easy for many individuals to participate.

An article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine informs readers of the common benefits of yoga. A few benefits that are discussed in the article include:

  1. Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility

  2. Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms

  3. Yoga benefits heart health

  4. Yoga helps you manage stress

  5. Yoga connects you with a supportive community

NCCIH explains that individuals who practice yoga choose to do so for various reasons. “National survey data from 2012 showed that 94 percent of adults who practiced yoga did it for wellness-related reasons, while 17.5 percent did it to treat a specific health condition. Some people reported doing both,” 

Yoga is a form of exercise and movement that is proven to be beneficial to the mental and physical health of those who practice it. Some individuals choose to do yoga as a way to relax and release stress and some choose to practice it to improve their strength and flexibility. There are many individuals who choose to practice yoga because they see it as an enjoyable hobby or activity to do in their free time.

As we change our focus as summer ends and September comes, consider taking time to try incorporating yoga into your routine. Whether it be a group class at the gym or a short and simple session from the comfort of your home, yoga can be practiced anywhere and brings many benefits along with it.

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Julianna Strano is a recent graduate from The University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in both journalism and sociology. Julianna is passionate about all topics related to health and wellness and has the goal of educating and informing others through her writing. Julianna joined the editorial staff of Today's Patient to have the opportunity to help educate others on patient rights and her many articles reflect that.

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The Link Between Mental and Physical Health: How Connected Are They?

by Mason LaFleur

In recent years, there has been a big push to help individuals better their mental health, and by doing so improve their quality of life. Studies show that going on walks, talking openly about your feelings, and actively spending time doing things that you enjoy all have positive impacts on your mental health. But do these activities have any influence on someone's physical health? What if we choose to look at it from a different standpoint, does bad mental health negatively impact someone’s physical health?

 

What is Mental Health?

Mental health encompasses a lot of different aspects of health, including emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing. Mental health plays a role in how we think, feel and act on a daily basis. In addition, it helps determine how we handle stress, make choices, and relate to others. While good mental health is important throughout your entire life, it’s especially important in your adolescence and teenage years, specifically when most people go through puberty. This is because, while your body is going through a huge change, your mind is as well. Most teens and others going through puberty may experience anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and attention disorders. However, dealing with mental health doesn’t end when puberty does, many adults struggle with poor mental health as well.

 

Links Between Mental and Physical Health

Research has shown that there is a strong connection between mental and physical health. If someone is struggling with poor mental health or has been diagnosed with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, it’s considered a chronic illness. And like other chronic illnesses, symptoms of mental illness can take shape in many different ways. The most common symptoms that are shown are: eating or sleeping too much or too little, not enjoying activities that are normally enjoyable, having little to no energy, feeling tense, on edge, or easily irritable, and feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. If someone’s mental health is more severe, however, it can cause more serious physical symptoms due to the stress their mental illness puts on the body’s immune system. Things like a fever, sore throat, headache, nausea, vomiting, aches and pains, are all symptoms of severe mental illness. It’s also possible to become physically sick from a mental illness. There are cases where people will contract the flu, strep throat, or other contagious diseases from having such poor mental health.

 

How Can I Improve My Mental Health?

Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” cure to solving problems with one’s mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, reach out to someone you know and trust for help, and if things get worse, seek professional help. It’s never easy addressing one’s mental health, but in order to live a healthy lifestyle, it’s necessary to take steps in order to better your mental health. These things can include, therapy, relaxing activities, journaling, exercise, spending time with loved ones, etc. Everyone is very focused on getting their bodies to a healthy point with good food and exercise. It’s time that we take those same steps with our brains too.

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Mason La Fleur is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying Health Communications. He serves as the Event Coordinator of the GVSU Health Communication Club, is a member of GVSU Students for Choice, and the GVSU Beekeeping club. Upon graduation, he plans to pursue a Master's in Health Administration with the career goal of working in a healthcare facility. Through his contributions to the magazine, Mason brings awareness to readers and helps educate patients about their rights and improve the relationships between healthcare professionals and their patients.

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