Whilst an active lifestyle is great for your physical health, evidence shows that it can improve your mental wellbeing. When your mental wellbeing is suffering, you are unable to feel good about yourself. Exercise can help you to feel good about yourself and the world around you. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym. You just need to find an activity you enjoy and fit it into your daily life.

How does exercise help?

It’s believed that exercise causes chemical changes in the brain which positively affects our mood. Exercise can relieve stress, improve memory, aid sleep and boost overall mood.

Studies have shown that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication, with the added bonus of having no negative side-effects. Exercise can act as a distraction from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

Exercise can also aid anxiety because it relieves stress and tension. You will benefit more if you pay attention to how your body is feeling (the rhythm of your breathing, your feet hitting the ground etc.) instead of zoning out and allowing yourself to think negative thoughts.

Exercise can help to reduce the symptoms of ADHD because it immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. In this way, exercise works in much the same way as ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

How much exercise should I be doing?

Adults should do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity such as fast walking or cycling. If you struggle to motivate yourself to work hard then you may prefer to do a class because they are instructor led. The main aim is finding a form of exercise that you enjoy and you can stick to in the long term. Try a few different types of exercise, you might surprise yourself with what you enjoy!

Common barriers to exercise and how to overcome them:

  • Feeling exhausted: when you already feel tired or stressed, exercise can be the last thing you feel like doing. So it is important to remind yourself that exercise can dramatically reduce fatigue and increase your energy levels.
  • Feeling overwhelmed: it is easy to feel overwhelmed by adding exercise to your current obligations. Just remember that exercise will make your other obligations more manageable because your mood will be lifted.
  • Feeling bad about yourself: if you are your own worst critic then it is time to change how you think about yourself. Remind yourself that there are so many others like you who want to get fit. Accomplishing your fitness goals will help you feel better about yourself.

If you would like to start exercising and don’t know where to start, then call us and book a consultation with one of the team. We love nothing more than helping people to achieve their goals!

Author: Charley Ratcliffe

Sources used:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-benefits-of-exercise/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm