exercise and mental health well-being

Getting yourself active is great for your physical health, fitness, mental health and wellbeing. It’s a fact. We all know that sitting around for long periods of time can make us feel lethargic and not only that, lack of exercise makes us pile on the pounds which in itself can make us feel utterly fed up and depressed. What we do with our bodies can play a very powerful part in how we feel mentally. If we feel good about ourselves, we have a positive outlook on life and want to get on with things and live life to the full. We are determined and driven and we have the energy and brain power to make things happen, which in turn, leads onto further positive thoughts.

For many, “being active” throws up images of spending hours in the gym, running and weight training. Getting up and about and moving more doesn’t have to mean this at all. There are many physical activities we can fit into our life and daily routine and they don’t have to cost anything. Just take advantage of what’s around you locally and if you are able, get walking. Take a look at the facilities your local council have on offer.

Doctors reckon that physical activity helps our wellbeing in several ways. When we go through stressful times, engaging in some exercise can help to burn the angst and nervous energy away. When we are anxious, the adrenalin can start to pump through our body and we end up feeling stressed and upset. Some even suffer from panic attacks. Taking care of our breathing and engaging in some form of physical activity can relieve the stress and help to bring us back to some semblance of a normal state. It can also help people suffering with mild depression as an activity such as walking the dog can divert our mind away from our woes; we also feel proud of ourselves for making the effort to get out; we feel a sense of self-control and the ability to rise above the issues we are experiencing. When we exercise, chemical changes take place in our brain leading to a positive change in mood. We are ready to embrace a new life.

According to the NHS website www.nhs.uk

“Adults aged 19 and over should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as fast walking or cycling, a week”

For a long-term plan, it is crucial that you find activities you will enjoy. There is no point in taking up swimming if you absolutely hate pools!

To get active we need to sit down less and move more; we will soon experience the positive changes. Sleep will be improved as we will be more tired at the end of the day and we will have a generally happier disposition. As we feel better, we start to consider making further healthy life changes such as cutting down on the alcohol we have been glugging since we started to get divorced or we start to make healthier food choices. Feel-good hormones are released and the better we feel, the more we will want to eat healthier and exercise more.

Not only that, but all those thoughts running around in our heads through times of stress just bring our bandwidth to working at 100%. We can cope with that for a very short period of time, but for a prolonged time and we become ill. Exercise gives us something else to focus on and leaves us feeling happy and content with ourselves and it’s really good to find an activity which can be done as a group. The Meetup App is great for connecting with like-minded people. There are a whole host of activities such as cycling clubs and people meeting for walks and a pub lunch. Getting involved in these kinds of groups makes us feel connected and gives us a sense of being involved.

Be brave and try something new. Maybe hiking or a walking club could be your thing. By joining group activities, you start to make new friends and if you are starting to date, maybe you will meet the love of your life too! Dust your bike down and cycle to collect your odd bits of shopping at the local shop rather than jumping into the car. Get the kids walking to school in the morning. This will benefit you and them. Is your garden looking a bit shabby? Get weeding and digging. This is great exercise and will lead to a lovely garden you want to sit out in. When we feel better, we start to look better.

There are many therapists, and coaches who can help to get you remotivated after a period of time where you have been exercise-free. Take a look in The Hug Directory.