We can all feel a bit down from time-to-time as life’s everyday stresses and strains take their toll. However, if not managed, feelings can intensify and may spiral into more serious health problems such as anxiety and depression It’s not all bad news though – our bodies have the answer. By introducing exercise into your life, you can give yourself a natural pick-me-up and your health a positive boost!
How can exercise help?
‘Scientific evidence suggests that endorphins (feel good chemicals) are activated by physical activity and exertion and that this does make a lot of people feel better.’ explains Stephen Buckley, Head of Information at the mental health charity, Mind.
Choosing the right exercise for you
With so many different sports out there, it can be hard to know which to try. All sports have their own benefits, require particular skills and can be hugely enjoyable, but the key is to find the right one for you. Stephen Buckley suggests starting with:
Walking. Walking is an easy and effective way to regularly exercise. A brisk walk in the fresh air will increase your heart rate and your breathing. You should still be able to talk, but not to sing. If you can’t talk, slow down a little.
Yoga. Many people have reported that they’ve found positive results with activities like Yoga, because they combine the obvious physical element with controlled breathing and mental stillness.
Get the most out of exercise
To get the most out of your chosen exercise, set yourself realistic, achievable goals and do it regularly so that it becomes part of your daily life. Fitness trackers such as a Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin can help you keep on target.
When do I need more help?
If you think you are struggling with anxiety, depression or the exhaustion that comes with these conditions make an appointment to see your GP or ask one of our experts a question directly.
For more information on mental health, read our factsheets on depression and anxiety We also have more information at our Mind Health hub.