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How Exercise Improves Mental Health and Wellbeing

Thinking about taking up exercise to improve your physical health? How about taking up exercise to improve your mental health? Most people embark on a new fitness regime to keep their body healthy, but studies have shown that it also plays a key role in looking after your mind. Here are five mental health benefits of exercise.

Looking for a Natural Energy Booster?

Regular exercise is highly conducive to feeling more mentally energetic. That’ll be those endorphins. Your body releases them after about an hour of intense exercise to combat stress and reduce pain, which accounts for the ‘high’ and the accompanying energy boost that runners often report. Of course, if you improve your cardiovascular health and therefore your endurance, you’ll also find that it takes less energy to complete your daily routine tasks, so you’ll have much more left in the tank at the end of the day.

Exercise to Reduce Stress

Ever noticed how it’s really tough to sit still when you’re stressed? That’s because your body is releasing adrenaline, which increases your heart rate, blood pressure and energy supplies. It’s that ‘fight or flight’ response, which has evolved to save us from life-threatening situations. Exercising when you’re stressed is a great way to relieve muscle tension, increase your deep breathing and burn off all that extra energy. Exercise reduces stress but it’s also really helpful for preventing it. Remember those endorphins that are released specifically to combat stress? Regular exercise keeps our endorphin levels high, which helps avoid the build-up of stress in the first place.

Exercise and depression

There are a myriad of ways that exercise can improve the symptoms of both depression and anxiety, but if you suffer from either then you’ve probably heard that a thousand times before. It would be easy for me to tell you how it helps but the truth is that joining a gym or seeing a personal trainer might seem like an insurmountable mountain if you’re struggling with depression or anxiety. Instead, let’s focus on how you’d even consider approaching that mountain in the first place. I’d recommend starting with something low-level like hiking or living-room yoga, which are ideal exercises to improve your mental health. Once you’ve built some confidence, you might want to make the next step – such as running or performing home circuits. If going to a gym or training studio is your ultimate goal, then you can get there step by step. If that still feels a little intimidating then perhaps you can consider working towards booking a 1:1 session with a personal trainer.

Physical Exercise – a Great Way to Exercise Your Brain!

Exercise can prevent cognitive decline, improve memory and creativity, and help to stave off the onset of dementia. Studies have shown that those of us who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in our cognitive function and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The parts of the brain responsible for thinking and memory have also been shown to be smaller in people who don’t exercise compared to those who do. If you want to take care of your mind then it’s imperative that you take care of your body too!

Stay active, stay social

One of the mental health benefits of exercise that most people don’t even consider is social connectivity. Unfortunately we’re not all lucky enough to have someone else in our lives on a daily basis and that’s where working out a couple of times a week – whether it’s in a one-to-one session or a group session – can provide that much needed social stimulation that many of us lack. That in turn can have a positive impact on our mental health and self-esteem. You’ve probably noticed that people who exercise together often form strong social bonds and a sense of camaraderie – think of a football team celebrating after a goal. I always look forward to catching up with my clients during a training session, and I like to think they do too!

These are just a few of the positive impacts of regular exercise but, of course, there are many, many more. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Chelmsford, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and book your first session!