The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

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May is Mental Health awareness month, so what are the mental health Benefits of exercise?

We all know how good exercise is for are general health and well-being, recently there has been lots of research in to the mental health benefits of becoming more physically active.

My first question to you is...How do you feel when you have finished your workout. Normally although you maybe a little red faced and breathing deeply, you feel pretty pleased with yourself and after the initial period it is common for you to feel like you have more energy, and the issues that were causing you problems might not seem as bad as before.  

Why is this? This is all down to exercise stimulating positive endorphins, which help to clear your head and lifts your mood.

So does a healthy body = a healthy mind?

Research from the Department of Health in October 2017, found that 12% of cases of depression could be prevented with just one hour of exercise each week. Amazingly if you up your workouts to three a week you could reduce the risk of depression by 30%

Does exercise help to handle stress and anxiety?

Although you may not feel like it, and feel like you haven’t got anytime, even a quick 5-10 minute blow out of the cobwebs has shown that exercise has clinically proven to stimulate serotonin, which is your natural feel-good neurotransmitter. 

Find the workout that is best for you!

If the thought of getting out of bed in the morning to jump around doesn’t feel you with motivation then start of slow. All it takes is a few minutes of low impact exercise (e.g. walking) to trigger you mood boosting endorphins. All you need to think is that with every stretch a bit more tension is released and every movement makes the oxygen pump around the body that little bit faster.

Which workouts are the best?

This is like asking how long is a piece of string? It all depends on what you want to get out of it.

If you are looking at building friendships then look at taking up a team sport such as football or netball, or fitness classes.

If you are wanting to calm your mind then try yoga, Pilates or t’ai chi.

Looking at releasing tension then a nice bit of boxing or a little HIIT workout will work wonders.

The long and the short of it is, do anything that makes you happy, as if you are happy and look forward to doing it then your are more likely to stick with it. The feeling that you get after your workout will keep you coming back for more.

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