Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. But exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a difference. No matter your age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to feel better.
And while we’ve all heard health guru’s carrying on about how amazing exercise is (like they’ve just dropped LSD at woodstock) it isn’t until you put it into practice that you realise the true power of exercise over both the body and mind.
Take yesterday for example. My morning got off to a great start. My client had a really positive workout sesh and we both felt awesome after it. So to continue this high, I thought I’d go to Yoga. Unfortunately that’s where my high ended…abruptly…with a car accident. Not a serious one (thank god no one was hurt) but when your not accustomed to having car crashes, even a minor one is still a shock to the system. To make matters worse, as I was trying to exchange details with the other driver, this horrible bystander decided to get out of her car and abuse us for blocking traffic (even though we weren’t). It took all my effort to keep the tears at bay. By the time I got back home, (my car wouldn’t make it to yoga) I was a mess. It was probably the shock sinking in and the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I wasn’t just upset about the accident, I was also upset because it had a ripple effect on the rest of my day/life. I had been sick so hadn’t been to yoga in weeks and I was really looking forward to getting back into it and finding my ‘zen’ again. Also, I was suppose to train 3 clients later that day and no car meant no training, which meant no income. And to top it off I was suppose to go to ballet class in the evening and I couldn’t get there. The transport wasn’t the only issue, I was also scared to drive.
It was around this time of self wallowing that I thought maybe I should jump on the exercise bike and just do a quick workout. It wouldn’t involve driving anywhere and it would at least be some sort of exercise for the day. So I reluctantly jumped on. After the first 3 minutes, I felt incredible. By the end of the ten minutes, I had completely forgotten about the accident. My mood lifted from despair to total “c’est la vie”. I really felt so much calmer and happier. And it was only moderate speed for 10mins on a bike, in my room in my pajama’s.
I guess that’s why they say to people that are upset to go for a walk and calm down. Cause thats exactly what exercising does.
So next time, if your feeling down or angry or upset, try going for a little walk or do a few star jumps before you reach for the ice cream tub, or the nearest throwable object.