The benefits of regular exercise are countless - being a healthy weight, improving cardiovascular health and even extending your life! But what isn't talked about enough is the profound positive effect it can have on your mental health. For issues such as depression, anxiety and ADHD, regular exercise can be super beneficial and reduce everyday symptoms, so keep reading to find out how fitness can help you.
The proof is in the science...
Research by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has shown that running for 15 minutes a day or even simply walking for an hour can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%! This is due to multiple reasons, such as endorphins being released and inducing neural growth. Without all the complicated science, regular exercise can simply serve as a distraction from negative thoughts and feelings, giving you some much needed relief.
Do I need to do intense exercise?
Of course not! Simply going for regular runs or even long walks can help to improve the lives of not only those with mental health issues, but all people who experience the stress of everyday life. If you're sat at a desk all day or swept off your feet, having a tense body can actually cause you to feel more stressed out. This can be resolved by exercise, as it helps you to loosen up tight muscles and alleviate stress headaches.
How much exercise should I be doing?
According to studies, men and women on average are only doing around half of the exercise they should be. This is due to a multitude of reasons, the main one being that many people aren't actually aware that they are lacking in daily fitness, or do not have enough knowledge of what to do. The Department of Health personally recommends 2.5 hours of exercise spread over the course of the week, which can easily be done in 30 minutes 5 times a week! This may seem daunting at first, but once you get it in your normal routine, it will fly by!
You don't have to do it alone!
If you're hesitant about starting your fitness journey alone and don't know where to start, there are plenty of people out there who feel the same! You never know, you could have a friend or colleague who are in the same boat and are open to supporting each other so reach out and see if anyone wants to join you! If you can't find anyone in your personal life, there is a huge amount of support and resources available online to keep you motivated and on track. If you give us a follow on socials, you can have access to a whole new group of people dedicated to improving their health - physical and mental!
To learn even more about the benefits of exercise for mental health, we spoke to Steve Muggridge, Mental Health Coach at CEG (Norfolk + Ashton House) and Personal Trainer/Owner of Synergy Wellbeing.
Please be sure to follow us on socials and let us know how you're getting on!