The impact exercise has on my mental health

Sometimes I underestimate the positive impact exercise has on my mental health. Throughout the past 5 years or so, I have been to the gym, taken part in gym classes, workouts at home and recently started the couch to 5K program again. Every time I begin exercising after a few weeks or months off, I instantly feel the impact it has on my mind and mental health. It really is true when people say how much exercise can help you feel better.

I only started the couch to 5K 2 weeks ago but honestly, considering how down I was and how much I was struggling with lockdown 3.0 before I started running, the change I have felt within myself after doing a half an hour walk/run is truly impressive. Also, getting fresh air and blocking out the world with my headphones is another thing I love about going for a run! Plus the alone time after being in my house for the majority for the past year…

I’ve always enjoyed walks and have understood how much a walk helps me clear my mind and relaxes my anxiety or stress. So, I did have hope that doing a running program would be a positive decision. I think sometimes, we sit there and think how much we can’t be bothered to exercise, whether that’s a quick 15 minute ab circuit at home, or getting dressed to go for a gym class; it can feel like so much effort, especially on the days that are harder than others.

I remember when I used to do my clubbercise class at 8pm on a weekday. I’d get in from working up London at 7pm, quickly have a slice of toast for dinner and then walk round to the gym for 8. It felt stressful every single week trying to make sure I was home in time, and sometimes I would dread going. But the second, I stepped foot in the class, I felt better. My mind was busy copying the teacher on what moves to do next, the music was blasting and I did it with my bestie. It almost made me feel like I had just been to therapy for an hour. I’d leave the class and feel 100x better than what I did beforehand. I felt refreshed and like all my problems had gone away (which I know isn’t the case, the problems are still very much there, but it was nice to have an hour of relaxation and sweating out my anger/issues).

So, even when it is the case that you may feel like you have no motivation or effort to even move off your bed, always try to think how you will feel during and especially after your piece of exercise.

For someone who loves shopping, another pro to exercising, is that it gives me a reason to buy new clothes…yes, I know this may not be a sensible thing, but it makes exercise more fun! I love buying new clothes to wear to go for a run, or a new pair of trainers (for comfort but also style). Treat yourself, look good to feel good! Plus, who doesn’t love buying a new outfit???

There’s so many ways you can introduce exercise into your life, or if you already had a exercise routine and have fallen off the road a bit (don’t worry, we all have, its been a pandemic), then figure out what works best with you. Switch it up if you’ve had the same fitness routine for a while and starting to feel yourself getting bored of it.

Some exercise ideas include:

– Running
– Walking
– 100 squats a day
– Weights
– Hula hooping
– Skipping
– Boxing
– Yoga
– Zumba
– HIIT
– Focus on one area for a while such as, abs or glutes

Find what you enjoy most, or try something new!

The message I want to get across from this blog post is that, if you’re debating a new fitness routine or even as simple as going for walks more often, exercise does wonders for your mental health. Take it from someone who has struggled with mental health for years, yet like I said, whenever I then do a workout or go for a run, I can’t even express the positive impact it has on my health. Not only mentally, but physically I feel so much better because I know I’ve done something good for my body. Exercise has a lot of pros to it and I do think that its worth giving it a go. Not everyone will love exercise, but it may be the case that you try and then you end up sticking to it for months because of how good it makes you feel. Think about it in the way that, there is no harm in trying.

Mental Health

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