National Workout and Wellbeing Week
Most of us already know that we should be making time to work out more. Exercise can boost our sense of wellbeing as well as our physical health. It can help build our self-esteem as well as reduce anxiety and low mood. When we exercise, our brains release chemicals like serotonin and endorphins which help to make us feel happier and less stressed.
How often should we be exercising?
Well, the good news is that you don’t need to be sweating it out in the gym 7 days a week to improve your health and mood. In 2018, the Lancet Psychiatry released the results of a huge study of 1.2 million people. They concluded that the optimum amount of exercise for mental health benefits is just 30 – 60 minutes, three to five times a week. The study showed that those people who regularly exercised had 40% better mental health! However, with busy lives and so many demands on our time, how can we make the time to work out? Sometimes, just the thought of a new exercise regime can be enough to put anyone off. Especially if we’re already feeling low, it can be very challenging.
We’ve put some top tips together to help you incorporate workouts for wellbeing into your life:
Don’t do it alone!
Having a buddy to workout with has lots of benefits. Firstly, if you’ve committed to meeting a friend for a workout, you’re less likely to back out. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up and have a good old chat – double the benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Going for a walk with a friend is a good place to start, or joining a group exercise class at the gym is a great way to meet new people whilst being active!
Make it fun!
Let’s be honest – if you choose a workout that you don’t enjoy, the likelihood of you sticking to it is pretty low. There are so many different ways to work out, whether it’s joining an exercise class, dancing around your front room to music or going out for a walk. Try different things and choose the ones you enjoy most to continue with. However, it’s also important to mix things up a bit as doing the same thing over and over can become boring and may put you off!
Being outside in the fresh air is great for our mental health. Fresh air, natural light and exercise all combine to give us a real boost. It could be a quick stroll around the block in the morning or a weekend hike in the hills. You may take a walk with a friend, join a running club, or just take the opportunity to gather your own thoughts by yourself. Being active outdoors is a great way to boost both your physical and mental health.
Set yourself an achievable challenge
Setting an achievable challenge will be different for each person. It’s better to set goals that you can achieve, rather than huge ones that will just set you up to fail. There are lots of trained professionals in the gym that can help you with setting goals, as well as many free apps that you can download that can help to guide you. Once you achieve one goal, you’ll feel a huge sense of happiness and wellbeing and it’ll motivate you to set the next one!
Keeping a record of your workouts, achievements and progress is a great way to keep you motivated. Even if it’s just noting down how much fitter or happier you feel, it’ll give you a sense of achievement and will make you feel more positive. Or, you may record when you have a really tough day and how you feel before and after exercising, to remind yourself why you’re doing it.