We already know that exercise has many benefits –increased strength, endurance, weight loss, better sleep, improved insulin sensitivity, improved health and healthy lifestyle. The list goes on…. But one of the most important and I’d say most life changing benefits of exercise are those to our mental health.
Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel good. It’s good for the soul. It helps de-stress us by channelling our energy into physical activity, be it lifting some heavy weights, going for a run, smashing a team workout and getting a great time on the board, or grounding us and calming our nervous system by doing yoga. Exercise gives us mental clarity, it takes our mind away from our worries and stresses and focuses in on our body, bringing us back to the feeling that ultimately, at this moment in time, we’re OK. I look at it as a moving meditation.
I’ve been struggling with anxiety for quite some time, and it’s been playing up quite a lot recently. Exercise is the only thing that really helps. I do yoga before bed (when I’m not too tired), 3 CrossFit sessions a week, a good training session in the gym, or I go for a run (that one is quite rare, but when I do go it feels great!). On the days when the anxiety is bad, I literally need to force myself to go out and train. I never regret it. The saying that ‘the only workout you regret doing is the one you didn’t do’ really rings true for me.
If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, or any other mental health aspect, give exercise a go. If you’re struggling on your own, go with a friend. You’ll have even more fun and will get even more benefits. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family is great for your happiness, and if you can combine it with a workout, even better!
Sending you all lots of positive vibes this Sunday!