The mental health benefits of becoming more physically fit are becoming more and more prevalent. In this post, we’ll cover the mental health benefits you can gain from being active.

How do you feel after a workout? Even if you’re knackered, you feel pretty pleased with yourself after a good session, right? Once the initial strain subsides after a workout, it’s common to feel like you have more energy shortly afterwards and those things on your mind might not seem so big as before. While they’re intangible those benefits are as real as – and arguably more important than – the results you see around your waistline.

“A prescription of exercise can help you have a healthy mind,” says GP Dr Paul Stillman, from Media Medics. “Exercise stimulates positive endorphins, clears your head and lifts your mood. I think we’ll see more and more people prescribed exercise as a mood-booster.”

Healthy Body = Healthy Mind

It’s becoming more apparent how important exercise is for our overall wellbeing, both mental and physical. New research from the Department of Health published in October 2017, reported that 12 per cent of depression cases could be prevented with just an hour of exercise each week. Upping your workouts to three times a week could reduce your risk of depression by as much as 30 per cent.

Does Exercise Help Handle Stress?

Exercise helps increase your overall health and feel of well being, which puts more pep in your step every day.

But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

1. It gets endorphins going.

Exercise helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. This function can be gained from anything from a brisk walk to a short-intense gym session.

2. It improves your mood.

Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, can help relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress cortisol levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life in general.

Does Exercise Help Handle Stress

Find your endorphin-boosting workout

If the thought of hauling yourself out of bed to jump around doesn’t appeal to you then start slowly. You can always change your exercise routine or workout if you’re not feeling it, but all it takes is a few minutes of low-intensity exercise to trigger the release of pain-relieving endorphins. Every stretch releases tension and every movement makes oxygen flow a little faster. Look out for your tipping point, because the more aware you are of the moment your mood warms up, the better it feels.

Workouts you can enjoy

Building friendships.. try group training or team sports like football or rugby.

“Social connectivity is incredibly important,” says Hayley. “When we’re struggling we tend to isolate ourselves, but being with other people can motivate you to get out there. Playing team sports is great if you feel lonely.”

To help feeling calm..

A great way to calm your mind.. Is trying yoga, pilates or t’ai chi. Exercises that work with your breathing help you relax and can be very calming. These exercise techniques help calm your mind and which leads to improving your mood.

Releasing Tension

If you’re someone who suffers from a lot of tension, then try boxing or HIIT training. The key is to find a workout you enjoy, because you’re more likely to stick to it for the long-term. After exercising, take some time to stop and notice how your mood feels and the satisfaction you get will keep you coming back for more. You’ll notice the feel-good benefits of exercising regularly, not just the physical results.

Have a great week,

Lean Body

Ever had those days when all you can think about is your next meal? It’s happened to all of us! When trying to cut calories for weight loss, hunger is one of the biggest side effects. After all, your body doesn’t want to give away its fat reserves without a fight.

Read on to find out that this is one battle you can totally win. With a few clever strategies and some planning, you can keep hunger at bay and still achieve your weight loss goals without the frustration.

Here are seven expert tips and tricks to tame your hunger cravings:

1. Stay hydrated

The recommended 2-3 litres of water per day will help with hunger pangs. It can be easy to confuse hunger spells with thirst. They’re both controlled by the same part of the brain, so staying hydrated is a great way to rule out being thirsty when you think you’re hungry. Lindsey Pine, RD, suggests drinking hot beverages like green tea in addition to water. Not only do herbal teas keep you hydrated, but they also give you something to sip on for a period of time.

2. Eat breakfast

Skipping breakfast can generate stomach hunger pangs and can also lead to grazing and binging later in the day. Cravings can begin just 7-8 hours after the ingestion of food, and are usually more intense in young people because they usually carry more muscle than older people.

3. Careful sugar intake

Foods high in sugars can only satisfy hunger temporarily, ensure they are mixed with a meal to help control hunger shortly afterwards. Richards J. Johnson, M.D., of the University of Florida showed in his research that communication between the digestive tract and the brain’s fullness center was disrupted by high-fructose corn syrup, making appetite difficult to control.

4. Sleep well

Most of us don’t get the required 7-8 hours sleep each night to keep our hormones in-check and curb sugar cravings. Work on getting enough sleep and waking up at the same time each morning. Remember to turn off electronics with bright lights before bed, and eat dinner at least two hours before you hit the sack for a great night’s sleep – this is a big one for weight loss.

5. Load up

Foods high in water content have only a few calories per gram, so you can eat more and feel fuller compared to calorie-dense foods like: cheese, pastas, nuts and sweets. Water rich foods are great for bulking up your meals and still keeping calories low. Liquid soups, salads and vegetables are filling and nutritious too.

6. Don’t skip meals

If you’re trying to cut calories and stay on track, avoid skipping meals. Skipping a meal or leaving very long gaps lead to irregular snaking and binging later-on. Aim to eat every three-to-four hours – and have breakfast within an hour of waking up to keep your hunger in check.

7. Eat more protein

Increasing amounts of research has shown that both acutely and in the long-term, higher protein intake helps blunt hunger cravings. It also helps that, as long as you’re consuming lean protein, it can be tough to consume a lot of calories in the first place- which helps with your weight loss goals.

I’d also note that there are many other reasons to consume sufficient amounts of lean protein on a weight loss diet including aid of blood glucose stability and sparing of muscle mass loss.

When new to lifting weights, it can be true that “newbie gains” can be attained when lifting for just a short while. However there are handful of common mistakes fitness novices make too often when they start a new weights routine. Rather than accepting that anything would work just by lifting the weight, its best to learn the basic principles of strength training first so you can continue- on from your progress of your “newbie gains” for as lengthy time as possible.

Below I’ve put together five common mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Training beyond your ability

A lot of people can feel a little embarrassed to exercise with less weight, as they would worry what others around them think! This often doesn’t help you as you are exercising your ego, and not your muscles. It is always wiser to start and continue lifting weights that suit your capacity and feeling comfortable whilst performing correct technique before progressing. Make sure you are confident about what you are doing and don’t worry about how much the person next to you is thinking.

2. Using split training days

Beginners are commonly told they should work out separate muscle groups on particular days, for example, Monday: chest/tricep and Wednesday: shoulders.

While this may be effective for the more experienced gym-goer, for beginners this may be counter productive and here’s why.

Beginners need to focus on performing basic fundamental exercises through safe and correct movement first, some of these exercises being squats, deadlifts and types of upper body pulls and pushes. These exercises take a lot of practice, and these can take weeks or months. Beginners also rarely have the ability to recover from workouts that focus on single body parts with such high volume.

When starting out again its better off either with three whole-body workouts over the course of a week or one upper, one lower and a whole body workout.

Here are some examples:

3-Day Full-Body Workout

Monday: Full Body

Tuesday: Rest or light intensity cardio

Wednesday: Full Body

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Full Body

Saturday: Rest or light intensity cardio

Sunday: Rest

 

Upper/Lower Spilt

Monday: Upper body

Tuesday: Lower body

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Upper Body

Friday: Lower Body

Saturday: Rest or light cardio

Sunday: Rest

3. Using poor technique

Many beginners avoid using the muscles to their full potential, they avoid using full range of motion during exercises because they haven’t been taught properly or they haven’t taken the time out to learn.

In reality, proper lifting technique performed with full range of motion on a weight that’s suitable to your capacity, results in more muscle and strength gains than using just partial ranges of motion. So next time you’re tempted to go halfway with a rep, remember that full range gets better results and will be perfectly safe if you use proper form.

4. Not following a training log

Competing against your own personal best will help you work out better. Maintain the intensity of the workout you perform each session. A great way to do this is increase the weight slightly once you have correct form or simply ‘up’ the repetitions by one or two every couple of weeks. This will help increase your workout load over time and help towards strength gain.

5. Too many sets to failure

In theory performing too many sets to failure may be halting your progress. Its often tempting to take every set of every exercise to the point where you cant complete the final rep properly, it turns out that you can make the same progress with far less strain.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine shows us that non-failure training leads to better gains in muscle strength and growth than training to failure. This is important because stopping each set just shy of failure means you are less likely to use improper form, increasing the likelihood of an effective set afterwards and reducing risk of injury.

So, stop most of your sets 1-2 reps shy of failure, the more complicated the exercise (i.e deadlifts, barbell squats), require more care whereas single joint exercises (i.e, seated lateral raises, bicep curls) can be trained to failure with less risk of injury.

To see how we can help you reach your strength and physique goals, call us on: 02084329991 for a free assessment.