A Healthy Body = A Healthy Mind
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.