Fatigued? Unmotivated? Stressed? Exercise could be the way to release the mental blockage and unearth the best version of yourself and shine with confidence. There are 24 hours in the day and now is the perfect time to use put just one hour of your time aside to start conquering your own mind. So why are you waiting?
So, what do we all already know about exercise? Many people think exercise sits within the realm solely of our physical health or is engaged with when we decide we want to look a certain way. However, what may come as a surprise to many is that exercise can also instigate a myriad of mental health benefits. Exercise shouldn’t be something you should feel ‘you have to do’, but rather should be viewed as something you want to. Hate the gym? You are not alone, and this is by no means the only way to reap the physical and mental benefits of getting active. There are endless possibilities and there will be an activity cater to all abilities and interests. Taking steps as simple as making time for a scenic walk with a friend, switching to walking or cycling to work/university or joining a sports team. Many people are put off by the cost of gym memberships or fees that my come along with exercising, alongside owning ‘gym attire’. However, this shouldn’t be a deciding factor, there are multiple things that can be done for free or at low cost. For example, exercising in the local park on fitness equipment or buying one or two pieces of equipment at a low cost so that you can utilise and use in a variety of ways, without it becoming repetitive. On the other end of the spectrum, it may be that you don’t like exercising in front of people and thus increasing your anxiety and stress, therefore research gyms with women only sections or invest in the essential equipment and do home workouts. Further information on this can be found here:
The great news is that any form of physical activity will help you to: destress; feel more motivated; afford you more energy throughout the day and have powerful, positive effects on your mood. Alongside this, self-esteem can be boosted whilst stress and anxiety can decline. Whilst it is very true that exercise can help improve your mental health and sense of well-being, it can also act as a preventive tool against potential mental illness, thus improving your overall quality of life.
It is of paramount importance that we keep all aspects of our physical and mental health. Whilst measures such as BMI are a useful and well-known tool for the former, many people don’t know how to self-evaluate their mental wellness. In fact, some of the most common signs of our mental health declining also show up in our physical health, symptoms such as: fatigue, struggling to sleep, and a noticeable change in appetite. You may be wondering why this is happening but ultimately this can be triggered by any stressors in our daily lives- from family, friends, work university, exams or simply a change that is occurring. When things do trigger your mental health, it is beneficial to take a deep breath and get active to help release the stress and maintain a sense of balance and equilibrium. Research has shown that adults who are more active than those that are not, tend to have overall lower levels or cortisol (the stress hormone) compared to individuals who aren’t very active or do very little exercise.
So where to start? Firstly, decide on and clarify what you want from being active. The key is to make your goals individual and personal. It could be to just to get a little fitter, meet some new friends and reduce stress levels. The great part is that one small change such as going to a fitness class, joining a sports team or even signing up for a running club could be that first step to achieving your goals. Carefully consider your preferences, such as being indoors or outdoors, alone or in a team, trying something new or developing a skill set you already have. This will make your new routine far easier to stick to. Think outside the box and remember that all movement is exercise. Envision your progress in 6 months. Make time, be practical and create a routine that really works for you. Start slowly, all progress is progress and remember you are one step closer towards achieving your goals. Perhaps most importantly, enjoy yourself and your mental and physical health will start taking care of itself. Further information can be found here:
Not only will incorporating exercise into your routine help mentally but it will obviously change your physical appearance, whether that be losing fat or toning up and building muscle mass, after 6 months you will physically see the benefits. Moreover, this will help your overall health in regards to being fitter, strengthen your immune system and having healthier organs. If nutrition was incorporated into this, you could most certainty reap the benefits. This will enhance everything mentioned so far and allow your body to be pushed further and you could achieve amazing results. Good nutrition provides more than energy, structural components, vitamins and minerals. It will allow the exercise to become easier and more natural as your body will be sustaining itself from the right nutrients. Even the slightest changes to one’s diet such as substituting food for a healthier version can make a difference, alongside eating the right amount of each food group with each meal. A visual representation of the correct balance is shown below. Both nutrition and exercise combined will have a life changing effect on one’s mental and physical wellbeing.