Fitness is all about striking a perfect balance between mental and physical well being, says Nageeb al Khaldi, an HSE professional and personal trainer, who likens the brain to a ‘king’ and body parts to ‘soldiers’. The ultimate goal is making the king strong, he says
Have you given up fitness activity after a few weeks of earnest pursuance? Do other commitments occasionally force you to shift fitness to the back burner? Has a mentally taxing day at work often made you shelf your fitness routine though it involved no physical exhaustion whatsoever?
Fitness is a combination of mental and physical well being, and when the two exist in perfect harmony, one experiences good heatlh, says Nageeb al Khaldi, a fitness freak who has also been training numerous people in Oman who struggle to keep their fitness commitments alive in the face of pressures of the daily grind.
“Mental fatigue often forces individuals to give up their fitness commitments, though they are not physically tired,” says Khaldi, adding that one needs to devise ways to tackle mental fatigue so that it does not interfere with one’s physical activities that are very important for all round good health.
“My personal preference is such, straight after work I love to go to the gym and workout to release my negative energy. I take it all out in the gym and when I go home, I am fully refreshed and filled with only positive energy. I make sure to plan to workout five days a week and take two days off as my body would need rest to recover. That also depends on the specific sport that a person is doing,” he asserts.
Distinguishing between mental and physical fatigue, Khaldi says, “Mental fatigue is when a person is mentally tired, depending on how much work did he put in office. Work in finance can be mentally taxing as it involves concentration and focusing on writing reports, etc. That would make a person feel mentally tired and he might want to sleep. It can also be induced by other stresses of life.
“Physical fatigue, on the other hand, is when a person does physical work, moving his body to achieve a task. It applies on those involved in hard manual labour in building/construction or maintenance works, especially technicians and engineers.
Despite the clear distinction between physical and mental fatigue, confusion often arises due to the tendency for the brain to command the body to sleep when it is mentally tired. However, there are alternative methods to refresh the mind, and sports can serve as a powerful example.
Although the thought of hitting the gym after a long day may seem daunting, the benefits of exercise for refreshing the mind and boosting energy levels cannot be overstated. Once an individual overcomes the initial hurdle of getting to the gym and warming up, they will likely notice a surge of energy and mental clarity. By incorporating regular workouts into one’s routine, it is possible to refresh the brain and increase productivity while enjoying the benefits of physical fitness.
Asked if it is okay for one to workout when mentally tired, Khaldi said, one must first evaluate whether one has indulged in any physical activity. If not, then fatigue relates to mental strain. And physical workouts are beneficial to get rid of mental fatigue because when you workout you hit two birds with one stone – you refresh your brain and at the same time you improve your physical health.
Admitting that mental fatigue does affect physical performance, he, however, asserted that one needs to make a start somewhere. “Your brain is like a ‘king’ and your body parts are ‘soldiers’. With a strong king you have strong soldiers and with a weak king you have weak soldiers. So, it is important to keep the king strong.”
Khaldi further asserts, that it is important to tell oneself that one has chosen to go to the gym to refresh the brain as well as build a healthier, stronger physique.
To those sitting for a very long time in front of a computer in the office, Khaldi says, it can affect your body and make your muscles weak, besides causing spine-related injuries. Hence, taking up any type of sports that works the muscles would be the ideal exercise to make up for it. Spending at least 45 minutes in a gym is also enough to activate the muscles, he said.
“We normally make time for everything – work, family, friends, and so on, but we don’t set aside 45 minutes a day for fitness though it provides positive outcomes,” Khaldi said, adding that the choice of fitness activities is contingent upon personal preference and the enjoyment derived from various physical pursuits.
Some individuals may prefer running or martial arts, others may opt for gym workouts or engaging in team sports. Ultimately, any form of physical activity can be beneficial for promoting wellness and achieving fitness goals.