More and more people are contacting me for Personal Training with well-being and mental health being at the forefront of their decision to start a new health and fitness routine.
Improved well-being and mental health can mean a lot of different things to different people. For me, it means feeling more positive, more often. It means feeling that I am better equipped to handle whatever situation I find myself in. It also means having more positive self esteem and self worth and maybe even self image.
For others it may mean feeling less depressed, reducing panic attacks, having less or less severe mood swings, feeling more confident and simply feeling happier more often or in other works feeling less low more often.
What does better well-being and mental health mean for you?
When I exercise the effects are immediate. I simply feel better, My mood and energy is better for the rest of the day. This is why I recommend exercising in the mornings or early afternoons. In fact I do not offer evening training to clients. Feeling the benefits of exercise in such a tangible way means I definitely won't skip it! Sometimes having that immediate gratification can be really helpful. There are very few other times when immediate gratification is a good thing!
I want to highlight that 'exercise' can be termed very loosely here. It doesn't matter what form it takes, simply moving your body in a way that feels good, and getting your heart rate up will have a hugely positive effect on your mental health. Therefore no excuses, there is an option which is right for you, whether that be a brisk walk, swimming, jogging, lifting weights or doing some slightly more intense housework! 20-30 mins a day is ideal, unless you want to do more. Aim to feel your heart rate increase, to feel a light sweat.
Here I want to highlight the ways that your exercise routine can have a huge impact on your mental health by improving your mood and reducing levels of anxiety and other well-being and mental health indicators. Exercise has been shown to:
-improve your energy throughout the day
- Improve our mood
-reduce stress response
-increase our self -esteem
-can help to treat or reduce depression
-support a better nights sleep
-improve your concentration and focus
-boost your immune system
Of course getting started is the tough bit. Remember that something is better than nothing so get moving when you can. Start small and build up. A short park walk one day, and you may find you even enjoy it! Exercise at a time that suits you best and put it in your diary each day so you work around it, rather than working your exercise around your other plans. For me, I love exercising in the morning as its a quiet time of day when little gets in the way therefore fewer disruptions. I'm also much more energetic at this time. In the morning my willpower is usually at its highest and tends to deplete as the day goes on.
I also suggest exercising in a way that is fun or at least less of a chore. I enjoy jogging and lifting weights and practicing Yoga. I don't enjoy team sports for example therefore I wouldn't have any expectation on myself to join a football team!
If you are sociable and share a similar goal with a friend whether than be a weight loss goal or improving your well-being and mental health then get together. Spending time with friends and family improves well-being and mental health in its own right and its just magic when you start exercising together.
Not only will exercise help you to meet your physical health goals such as reducing your body fat and increase your muscles mass but your well-being and mental health will improve too. The benefits are too huge to miss out on. Now that you know all the benefits and you have a few tips on getting started, don't wait another moment, schedule in your exercise or put your shoes on and get moving now.