As well as the physical benefits of exercise and regular activity, a fit and healthy lifestyle has also been clinically proven to be one of the most effective ways of improving your mental health. With mental health spanning from stress and anxiety through to intense depression and with an estimated one fifth of UK adults suffering from some kind of mental health issue each year, the question is how can exercise really help?
Exercise A Secret Remedy?
For many who have encountered mental health issues, the thought of getting out and exercising may be daunting, however it has been proven that regular exercise can relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better and boost your overall mood.
Building Exercise Into Your Routine?
If like so many of us you have a busy lifestyle and are not currently a fitness enthusiast, but want to reap the benefits of fitness, you will firstly be pleased to know that research also indicates that modest amounts of exercise can also make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to make you feel better. As your confidence and fitness levels increase, there are so many ways to get the best out of your fitness routine.
For the best results, try to schedule your workout at the time of day when your energy is this highest. Although a battle for many, the time in the morning before work or a school run can provide you with a great opportunity to get out in the air and get you ready for the day ahead. For added benefits, try to make your early morning session a fasted cardio session (before breakfast), this can help you to become more efficient at using existing fat stores in your body, whilst also ensuring your hormones are in the perfect alignment for fatty acid mobilisation.
If you are looking for an exercise that is easy to work around your busy schedule, love it or hate it, running is a fantastic cardio exercise, giving you the freedom to get outside and build stamina and endurance. What’s great about running is that it can also be something you do on your own, giving you the breathing space you need, or something that is extremely social. It’s rare that you head out for a morning run and don’t meet other runners, or if you get really confident in your stride there are hundreds of running clubs up and down the country many of which are easy to access and often free to join.
As well as cardio training, moderate intensity resistance training has also been linked with improved mental health, with studies showing that resistance training can also provide some real benefits to aspects of cognition in older adults. Try to build some moderate intensity resistance exercises into your cardio a few days a week.
Set A Personal Goal
One of the most difficult factors when it comes to improving your fitness, is staying on track and staying focused. All too often, no matter how great the benefits, there is a tendency to fall back to old habits and not to push yourself or progress. A sure fire way of making sure you stick to your programme is to set yourself a challenge or a goal. This could be anything from a 10km run to a half marathon, from a new personal best in the gym to a weightlifting competition, through to one of the hundreds of challenge events taking place each year. Having a date in the diary and that knowledge that you have to achieve something will help you stay on track and achieve your goal.
Diet and Fitness The Perfect Partnership
Diet and fitness are usually seen to go hand in hand and when it comes to looking after your mental wellbeing, the combination of a great diet and a quality fitness routine are essential. Nutrition plays a bigger role in mental health than many of us realise, with evidence suggesting that what we eat can contribute to the development, management and prevention of some mental health problems. So what do we need in our diets to ensure we stay as healthy as possible?
The consumption of lots of fruit and vegetables have been proven to have a positive impact, but along with this we need to ensure our diets provide adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Many of which lack from what we eat on a day to day basis.
Although certainly not a cure for mental health problems, there is clear evidence pointing towards exercise and diet as a good way to influence symptoms which many of us encounter every day. Whether it’s stress, anxiety or one of the whole host of others, finding ways to incorporate fitness into our day to day routine can help reduce symptoms and provide a new focus or goal. Even small amounts of change in levels of physical activity, or diet can have a positive impact.
Keep your eyes peeled for our range of simple home workouts and for information about supplement products that may be suited to your training programme or diet.|Posted: February 17, 2017|Categories: Lifestyle
“New year, new you.” January detoxes are all the rage right now and a lot of newspaper articles and websites are extolling the virtues of juice cleanses and other diets purported to help you get your new year off to a healthy start. But what’s the science behind them, and what’s the best way to take part in a January detox without negatively impacting your performance?
Lots of detoxes promise you that you can wash away the calorific sins you’ve committed over the holidays and flush out all of the toxins in your body by switching to an extreme diet for a short time. Some even go as far as saying that detoxes can help prevent disease. The problem with these claims is that if toxins really did build up in your body in this way you’d likely be in need of serious medical attention - your kidneys, your liver, even your lungs and your skin are all helping to detoxify your body right now.
If you go on a week long juice cleanse you might lose weight, but this is because you’re not eating, not because you’ve flushed toxins out of your body. If you aren’t getting the calories you need then your body will start burning through the stores of glycogen in your muscles for energy and once those are depleted it might start breaking down muscle tissue. Obviously this isn’t ideal if your main aim is to put on some lean muscle mass and compete!
While the fad diets might do you more harm than good, there’s still a lot to be said for starting your year off in a healthy way. Instead of worrying about cleansing your body, there are some ways you can ‘detox’ this January with a healthy diet.
One of the best things ways that you can improve your diet and increase your performance is to incorporate more foods and supplements that increase your immune function. Try to make sure that you’re getting plenty of whole-grain carbs, lean proteins, and lots and lots of leafy vegetables. Along with some quality amino acid supplements this kind of a diet will go a long way towards you starting your new year off in a healthier, stronger way.
Making sure you’re recovering in the right way is also a big part of healthily improving your performance. For the best results, consuming something high in protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of finishing bouts of high-intensity exercise such as a whey protein shake will help reduce muscle soreness and aid recovery. Try to keep yourself well hydrated with lots of water and electrolyte drinks, and eat something high in protein like an egg sandwich within an hour of finishing your training. Again, amino acid supplements are also great at helping you boost your recovery. If you don’t have one already, devising your own post-exercise routine and making sure you follow it religiously is one of the best things you can do to kick off your new year.
Snacking is a great way to keep your calorie intake up, so instead of being tempted to cut out snacks as part of a January detox it would be much better to make sure that you’re snacking right. Replace crisps and chocolate with nuts and fresh fruit, and if you need something sweet then AMSport have plenty of tasty alternatives that won’t break your new diet.
Wanting to start your new year of in a healthy way is commendable, but following a January detox from a tabloid or trying a juice cleanse will hurt your performance a lot more than it helps. Instead, if you can get into the habit of eating better and using the right supplements this January, then you’ll be on track to make 2017 your best year yet.
Across our site you’ll see the phrase “Made by athletes, for athletes” pretty frequently. That’s because at AMSport, we love what we do and we believe in what we do. Ever since the company was founded by Mark Warnecke we have developed nutritional supplements and ergogenic aids for athletes, ﬁtness enthusiasts, and health-conscious individuals. We always choose the highest quality ingredients and manufacturing standards and produce all of our supplements with the utmost care, as if they were intended for our own personal use (because they are!)
Mark Warnecke developed what would go on to be the first AMSport product for himself back in 2004, shortly after graduating from Bonn and Bochum Universities in Germany and becoming a medical doctor. But before that he was better known as an elite level athlete who had competed in 4 Olympic games and took home Bronze in the 100m breaststroke at the Atlanta games in 1996.
He held the world record for the short-course 50m breaststroke for nearly 7 years from February 1995 until it was finally broken by Ed Moses in January of 2002 and then, at nearly 32 years of age, it seemed that the best of his career in athletics was behind him.
Mark had other ideas though. He continued to compete at an elite level and drew on his competitive experiences and his medical knowledge to develop an amino acid formula for himself to help improve his performance. On the back of this he shocked the swimming world in 2005 by winning the 50m breaststroke at the 2005 World Championships with a time of 27.63. At 35 years old he became the oldest swimming champion in history and was voted Sports Personality of the Year by his fellow athletes.
In the wake of Mark’s sensational championship the interest from other athletes in the supplements he had developed began to grow. After retiring from competition and becoming a clinical nutritionist in 2007 Mark began to develop what is now our portfolio of AMSport products, each one designed with the same principles Mark has had since the beginning, and each subject to regular testing at accredited IOC anti-doping labs.
From our humble beginnings, today at AMSport we have partnerships with a huge range of clubs including Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, and Hertha Berlin, as well as with organisations such as Triathlon Bundesliga and Basketball Bundesliga in Germany. All of our products are extensively researched and independently tested prior to production and all of our athletes benefit from measurable improvements in performance.
While Mark himself has retired from competitive swimming now there are many athletes carrying on his legacy using the supplements that he has developed. The sprint canoeists Max Hoff and Stefan Holtz are both AMSport athletes, as is Marco Koch, the reigning world champion and current world recorder holder in the 200m breaststroke (short course).
All AMSport products are based on healthy nutrition and a strong understanding of the science behind it, and we’re confident that no matter what your goals are our supplements can help you reach them. Whether you’re an amateur looking to reach a new PB or a former Olympian who people considered too old to compete we can help you to keep achieving, and more importantly, help keep you healthy.