Exercise and well-being in the words of Rodrigo Santos

Exercise and well-being in the words of Rodrigo Santos

On my last article, I introduced you to Rodrigo Santos, my personal trainer. As I told you before, I’ll leave you his testimony here on some of the questions that raised my interest, as a professional who values happiness and well-being above all. I believe that everything is related and, thus, beyond medical treatment and aesthetics, there are many crucial things in our life, such as physical exercise and nutrition.

I’ll leave you with Rodrigo’s own words:


In your opinion, do most of the Portuguese already have a healthy lifestyle or is there still a long way to go?

From what I observe on a daily basis, I would say healthy lifestyles are increasingly engrained in the minds of the Portuguese surrounding me. But that’s because I work mainly in Lisbon. Therefore, I know that if I generalize and say it is true for the whole country, I’d be lying.

The truth is that in the urban centres the healthy lifestyle is “trendy” and “fashionable” and people are influenced by each other and by the marketing promoting this “green lifestyle”. It’s a trend and, in a way, to be healthy and in shape has become cool and sexy. However, if you just take a trip a few kilometres from the outskirts of Lisbon, you’ll see that in the inland areas most of the people are still sedentary, with a careless and unbalanced nutrition, highly poor in essential nutrients. 

Therefore, we still have a long way to go, although with the new generations increasingly accessing more and more information, the hope is that the younger ones bring home this knowledge and have the necessary wisdom on nutrition and sports education. In this sense, besides growing oriented to these healthy lifestyles, they may even be the ones fuelling this change in the mindset of their older family members.


Do you believe exercise contributes to the happiness of those who practice it regularly? How so?

Not only do I believe as I can testify to this truth every single day. In addition to being an essential component to maintaining our good health and for our well-being, physical exercise has also the aesthetic factor, which has an increasingly growing impact in peoples’ lives. Many of them come to me because they feel frustrated about their weight or the image they have of themselves. They want to change, be able to look at the mirror and like what they see, and they need help to achieve that.

Naturally, when they get to that point, they have already come a long way on this path of personal frustration for not being able to achieve their goals on their own and then, at some point, they realize they need professional personalized help. When they begin to see results, the sense of frustration disappears and gives way to a positive feeling of personal fulfillment. Consequently, people feel happier about themselves. And often that feeling of happiness influences positively other aspects of their lives. Human balance is composed by physical fulfillment as well as psychic and emotional. And with the modern life’s fast-pace lifestyle, exercise is often set aside.


What is the main motivations of the people you monitor?

The motivations and goals are many and vary from one person to the other, being all legit. However, some of the most common are health issues, weight loss, muscle mass increase, muscle definition or redesigning their body figure. Often in the course of the sessions their initial motivations are reshaped as the level gets higher and the person gains confidence in himself or herself, and starts believing his or her abilities.


In your opinion, is physical exercise just an activity, a way of life or a philosophy?

Physical activity is to me a way of life, which can be perceived as a philosophy. What is crucial is the regular practice, integrated normally into your day-to-day life, such as bathing, eating, sleeping, etc. It should be something we do to keep ourselves alive and healthy. The magic behind physical activity is, though, that additionally to being able to be practiced in a multitude of different ways, over time it often becomes addictive.

I see many of my students looking back and not being able to imagine what their lives were before physical exercise was a habit and thy often feel their week doesn’t run as smoothly if they don’t exercise. So, at a certain point, it becomes a philosophy of life, living with quality instead of just surviving; you stop doing exercise just to be in shape and start wanting to be in shape in order to achieve new goals and objectives. Physical exercise stops being just a mean and starts being an end, being an end in itself.

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