It is universally acknowledged that exercise can have a powerful impact on your mental wellbeing. It can benefit stress levels, productivity and happiness at work and home.
When we exercise our brain produces endorphins which are natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals. This process starts with a simple movement of the body and is heightened as exercise intensity increases. ‘Runners-high’ is a phenomenon demonstrating these benefits. It is a euphoric state of mind, experienced after a long period of exercise.
It has been known to reduce anxiety and lessen the experience of pain. It can be compared to taking a powerful drug, except this drug is 100% natural and produced in your own body.
Starting an exercise regime is an effective mechanism to tackle stress. It will undoubtedly improve your mood, aid better sleeping patterns and boost your energy levels. Ask anyone who trains regularly and they will testify that all of these things are true.
Here are my top 5 tips for how to get going with a stress busting exercise plan:
Create the habit – start by setting a small goal. Try to complete one exercise session per week for your first few weeks. Once you have created the habit and have more confidence you can add more sessions to your regime.
Pick anything – exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Consider alternatives such as running outdoors, dance classes, go for a hill walk or cycle to work. Anything that gets you moving is beneficial.
Find a friend – research suggests that exercising with others helps with motivation and enjoyment while increasing the chances of maintaining your routine.
Change it up – explore different types of fitness such as bootcamp and boxercise which can provide intense forms of stress-relief. Alternatively, opt for a class such as yoga or pilates providing stress-reduction in the form of breathing techniques and controlled poses. Joining a local sports club or team could provide variety and help with maintaining your routine.
Stick with it – setting a goal and achieving it is a feelgood experience in itself. The exercise may feel tough at the beginning and you may want to give up, however that will only lead to more stress and disappointment. Stick with it and you will be rewarded with physical and mental health benefits for life.
If you are still struggling to get started by yourself, you should consider getting help from a qualified Personal Trainer who can tailor a programme to your specific lifestyle. Alternatively, there are online resources such as YouTube videos and a vast range of mobile apps where you can follow workout routines in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Alex Cahill owner of Outfiters Fitness
Outfitters was created due to a growing demand for new and exciting outdoor workouts using modern equipment that you would otherwise find in a gym. Their Personal Training and Group Training sessions cater to all ages and fitness levels.