In my opinion (and several health studies would agree), exercise is a great way to boost energy levels and help alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety. Even if it is the last thing you feel like doing, sometimes the hardest part is putting your gear on and stepping out the door, after that hard bit is done, it’s an amazing way just to clear your mind.
As a general rule it’s said that 30 minutes or more of exercise, three to five days a week is a good routine for improving health and wellness. However, if this seems like a lot to you, even as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time will still make a difference and is a great starting point. I like to think anything is better than nothing.
Some (from a long list) positives of exercise…
- It will help you to gain confidence; by meeting exercise goals it can boost your self-confidence.
- Exercise is a great way to distract you from the cycle of negative thoughts that can feed anxiety and depression.
- Great way to get some social interaction.
- The ‘feel good’ endorphins can be quite addictive. These same endorphins can help your concentration and mental sharpness.
- Improves mood and self-esteem, regulates sleep and reduces stress, which can all help us with overall feelings of well-being.
Negatives of Exercise?
Is there a downside? With the huge scale of exercise intensity, there is next to no negative elements of taking part in some sort of exercise.
- I would say the only negative for me is when I am injured and can’t exercise to the level I am used to. If you are normally very active, you may have feelings of frustration or depression if for any length of time you can’t exercise because of an injury.
- Exercise can be detrimental if done incorrectly whilst carrying an injury. If you find yourself in this state, seek medical advice and see what exercise you can do, that caters for your injury. This will help you keep your fitness levels up and help you feel like you have some control
Some tips to remember for when getting started…
- Choose a time of the day that your energy levels are at their highest.
- It is more beneficial for you to set smaller achievable goals to start with if you haven’t exercised for a while.
- Don’t think of it as another chore. If you put it off (like we do with our chores sometimes), you could feel disappointed in yourself if you don’t get it done. Think of it as a tool to help you feel better and increase your health and well-being.
- It is important to find something that you enjoy doing, this way you will be more likely to stick with it.
- Exercising with a friend or family member can make it far more enjoyable. It can also help you stay on track and hold some accountability.
- Be prepared for days that don’t go to plan. It is okay to have off days, just do your best to get up and back on track the next day.
Set yourself some SMART goals…
Specific – make them clear, precise and detailed
Measurable – set mini time frames a week at a time
Achievable – smart small, there is always room to go big later
Relevant – make them mean something to you
Time-based – set yourself a time limit to achieve your goals.
If you are not quite ready to start an exercise programme because you are worried about your current health state then please, for your own sake, don’t just sit around waiting for a solution, you need to seek advice from a doctor, physio or fitness professional. They will also be able to advise you of what level intensity, and how much exercise would be a good starting point.
Just remember…‘A little progress each day adds up to big results’