Exercise benefits your body, but how does it affect your mind?

WE often exercise to improve our fitness or lose weight, but there’s a lot of talk these days about exercise benefitting our minds, too.

With one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year. It’s really important, now more than ever, to take care of our mental wellbeing.

Exercise can be great to lift your mood and distract your mind. In fact, some doctors prescribe exercise as part of treatment for mild to moderate depression.

All around us people are taking up mindfulness techniques such as meditation, using special apps and trying adult colouring books, but exercise is just as good to take care of your mental health. Here’s why.

1. Releases endorphins

It’s well known that exercise releases chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals boost your spirits and make you feel good.

2. Relieves stress and tension

According to Mind.org.uk, Exercise can be particularly helpful to release the stress and tension associated with anxiety. By noticing the sensation of movement you’re becoming more grounded and aware of your body.

3. Improves concentration and motivation

Regular exercise can boost the chemicals dopamine and serotonin which can also improve your focus and motivation.

4. Boosts self esteem

Improvements to your body and shape can help to boost your self esteem. But it’s the feeling of self-worth that you get from completing a workout challenge that can really help you to feel good about yourself.

5. Improves sleep

We live in a world where we’re constantly complaining about being tired. A good workout will make you physically tired, which can help you to sleep better and regulate your sleep patterns.

But what does being physically active mean? Technically, it’s anything that involves moving your body.

If you’re looking to improve your mental health with exercise, this doesn’t mean you have to instantly take up triathlons.

Even something as simple as going for a walk with your friends can count as exercise and massively benefit your mental health.

Ultimately, doing something that tires your body will begin to tire your mind, which can help to clear your thoughts and make you calmer.

So next time you reach for your colouring book or knitting, why not head to the gym instead? You can work on your body and mind at the same time.

Everybody’s Gym team.

Fell Off The Health Wagon Over Easter? Here’s How To Get Back On Track

Returning to healthy eating and exercise doesn’t have to be a pain.

If you’ve just consumed more hot cross buns, chocolate bunnies and eggs and booze than you care to remember, welcome.

While letting go and enjoying Easter treats is only natural, it can feel overwhelming if you now face getting back on the health train. Let’s be real, the idea of going from chocolate for breakfast to kale salads is not fun.

But there’s good news — getting back to eating healthily and exercising doesn’t have to be a punishment. And you don’t have to feel guilty for treating yourself.

Remember it is all about moderation and balance. If you do have an Easter blow out don’t beat yourself up. Simply get back on track the next day.

The odd indulgence will not have a negative effect on your long term health. It’s what you do repetitively every day that has the biggest impact.

If you’ve fallen off the health wagon, follow these four tips. You’ll get back into the swing of things before you know it.

1. Start small and plan three workouts

Instead of over-doing it and planning to exercise six days a week following Easter, we recommend easing back into it.

2. Don’t restrict calories

Although it may be tempting to cut calories in order to make up for all the eaten chocolate, restricting can leave you worse off in terms of training endurance and food intake.

3. Commit to a regular routine

Setting the same days of the week as ‘workout days’ can be super helpful in helping to form healthy habits and routines.

4. Integrate more fibre-rich whole foods

Once you feel like you’ve got a (slight) handle on reducing junk food, increase your intake of fibre-rich whole foods like fruit and veggies, which will help keep you full for longer — and less likely to reach for treats.

We hope you enjoyed Easter.

Everybody’s gym team.