How Exercise can Boost your Mood
With World Mental Health Day just around the corner, it's time to remind ourselves of the many emotional benefits, of exercise and an active lifestyle.
Boost happy hormones
Exercising automatically increases the body's output of endorphins - so called "happy hormones" which act as nature's own anti-depressants. Endorphins are brain chemicals which interact with brain receptors to make you feel better, and even have a positive effect on how you perceive pain. Ever felt the "runner's high"? Then you'll know exactly how it feels to have a body flooded with endorphins thanks to exercise and activity. Feels good, doesn't it?
The power of vitamin D
Did you know the body can't create vitamin D without a helping hand? The best way to encourage vitamin D production is to get outside and expose your skin to sunlight. There's a reason it's called the "sunshine vitamin". Those of us who live in the UK and other Northern climates run the risk of being deficient in vitamin D all year round, because of our overcast skies and short daylight hours. So take your exercise sessions outside as often as you can.
Exercising makes us feel focused, accomplished and like a super-hero! Exercise early in the day to start your schedule off on the right note. If you schedule exercise into your morning and then actually do it, you'll feel great about yourself, and this sense of achievement and "can do" attitude will filter through your entire day. People who exercise regularly tend to have a more positive outlook, be energised (and energising to be around), and get more done in other areas of life. So make exercise part of your daily routine (a walk will do) and watch your productivity sky-rocket.
Fresh air and open spaces
If you choose to do your exercise outside, you'll benefit not just from the health effects of increased circulation, fat mobilisation and muscle toning. You'll also give your mind and body access to fresh air, new views and all the wonders of the natural world. Simply being outside, moving your body, working up a sweat and breathing deeply sets off a cascade of positive effects in the body, mind and emotions. And there's always a chance you'll see something wonderful which you'd miss by being inside, in your car, or in a gym.
Energise from within
Even when we feel tired, exercise can actually increase energy levels, improve self-esteem and boost our mood. You'll also feel more rested, and are likely to sleep better and more deeply. So get out there and run, walk, cycle, swim, lift weights, do an exercise class or boot camp; whatever your choice of exercise happens to be. And be proud of the fact that you've made a positive decision to take action which improves your mental health!
What form of exercise will you choose to do this World Mental Health Day?