Everyone knows that exercise is good for your mental health, but the extent to which this is true is widely underestimated. In fact, exercise is one of the most effective ways of improving your mental wellbeing. With depression, anxiety and stress all becoming an increasing issue in the UK, it is more important than ever that people know the benefits exercise can give beyond a six-pack.

How do you usually feel after a jog or a session in the gym? Once the sweat, instant tiredness and breathlessness has passed, it is very common to feel a sense of achievement, which brings happiness and self-esteem highs with it.

The science behind it is confusing if you’re not a doctor, but we’ll keep it simple. It is well know that exercising releases endorphins, which are essentially the body’s feel good hormones. They are produced by the brain and trigger a positive and energetic feeling in an individual. You may have heard of ‘runners high’, well this is similar!

There has been endless research on the benefits of exercise on mental health, all with the unanimous decision that the relationship is stronger than most people think. New research from the Department of Health has shown that by doing three short workouts a week you can reduce your risk of depression by 40%. And if your stressed with everything else going on in your busy life, then exercise can be the answer here as well. Taking just 20 minutes out of your day is a great way to relieve stress. If you’re suffering from common neck and back ache due to stress, working out can help to combat this and reduce tension in your muscles. As your body and mind are so closely linked, it is no surprise that if your mind is healthy, your body will be too! Even just a quick jog can help you with stress, as it enables your mind switch of from the world and can be some much needed relaxation, even if the thought of running doesn’t put your mind at ease!

Exercising can also be a huge confidence booster. Studies show that self-esteem issues are highly correlated with body confidence issues. So when you are exercising regularly, it’s only natural that you feel good, fresh and fit. Meaning when your bodies in shape, chances are your mind will be too. This will kick away any negative self-esteem issues you had about yourself, keeping the pounds of and the confidence sky high!

 

So how much exercise do you need to do? Put simply, anything helps. Just one walk in the park can do wonders for your well-being. However, studies show that exercising three times a week for thirty minutes each time is an optimum amount of time for leading a healthy life, healthy mind and keeping a smile on your face!

What exercises should I do? Aerobic exercises, such as jogging and cycling have been found to have the most effective results on mental health. But it’s completely up to you. If you enjoy strength training and throwing around heavy things more, then do that! Including a range of different exercises may be a good idea to, to keep it varied and fun. But there is no rules for this, just get active!

Friday, 9th November 2018