Have you ever stopped exercising for a week or two and noticed that you didn’t feel quite like yourself?
Well, you’re not alone!
One of the reasons I’m so passionate about movement is because of the way it makes me feel. I always notice the difference when I’m not exercising regularly; I feel sluggish, tired and not quite on the ball. I notice that I am easily irritated and struggle to think positively.
And it’s backed up by research which shows that regular exercise:
- improves your memory
- boosts your productivity
- enhances your ability to concentrate and make decisions
- improves your mood.
The reason we feel good when we exercise is because the brain releases endorphins and serotonin, neurochemicals which lift our mood
As if that wasn’t enough, regular exercise:
- helps you sleep better
- increase your energy levels
- boosts your immune system
- helps you manage the physical and mental effects of stress, depression and anxiety.
As a Personal Trainer I have personally seen the positive impact of exercise on the mental health and wellbeing of friends, family and clients. Time and time again I witness dramatic shifts in clients’ moods from the first five minutes to the last five minutes of a session.
According to the Black Dog Institute exercising for 16 weeks can be as effective as antidepressants in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.
The thing to remember is, exercise doesn’t have to be intense, or no less than 30 minutes or whatever other rules you’ve been fed about cardio and strength training.
Something is always better than nothing!
If you are living with anxiety or depression (and even if you’re not), going to the gym can sometimes fall into the “too hard basket”. If that’s the case, take a short walk around the block, do some gentle yoga stretches or dance in your living room. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up because it “wasn’t enough”.
Check out this post to discover how yoga can help combat stress and anxiety.