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Exercising for your Mental Health

Do you remember when the UK first went into lockdown in March 2020 and the government granted us an hour of outdoor exercise a day? Well, whilst it was important that we remained indoors there was a good reason that this one hour of exercise was pushed on us as much as it was. Exercise, as I’m sure you’ve heard is a great tool for tackling mental health, and during the pandemic, it was a much-needed coping mechanism for many of us. Whether it was a walk, run or cycle – parks and pathways across the country were filled with more people than ever, exercising. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits that exercising can have mentally and offer some exercises for you to try.

The Current State of Mental Health in the UK

According to Mind, a mental health charity that “provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem”, around 1 in 6 people over the age of 16 in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem in any given week, with only 1 in 8 adults receiving treatment. However, due to the lack of recent reporting, the groups excluded from these figures and the fact that we’ve had a pandemic to cope with, these figures are likely to be a lot higher.

Well, looking into these figures some more, on NHS Providers we can see that in August 2021, there were 326,896 mental health referrals in the UK, an 8% increase on the same time in 2020 and an increase of 13.4% in comparison to August 2019. There is also a whopping 1.5 million people in contact with Mental Health Services.

So, whilst treatment figures remain low, and mental health problems along with the waiting list for NHS increases, what can we do to tackle and improve our mental health?

Exercising for Mental Health

Well, exercise has been proven to have many positive impacts on Mental Health over the years and has often been prescribed to treat mild to moderate mental health problems or is recommended alongside other forms of treatment for more severe mental health issues. The reason? Because the benefits of exercising include:

  • Improved Sleep – Being physically active often means that you’ll be more tired by the end of the day and are therefore likely to get a better night’s sleep which is vital for improving mental health.
  • Better Moods – Exercising releases endorphins that can make you feel great. Endorphins are similar to morphine and are therefore often referred to as the “happy chemical”. As a result, exercise can be seen to be a great mood booster.
  • Reduced Anxiety and Stress – Exercise also releases a chemical called cortisol, which is the stress chemical that increases your adrenaline. And whilst it might seem counter-intuitive, the more you exercise you improve your bodies response to this chemical and in turn, this lowers your stress and anxiety levels.
  • Reduced bouts of Depression – Because exercise is great for improving mood, it’s also good for mild to moderate forms of depression which is why it is prescribed as a form of treatment by the NHS. Depression also leaves you with very little energy which again, regular exercise can help increase. As Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch explains “Exercising also boosts oxygen circulation inside your body. This increase in oxygen not only supports the mitochondria’s energy production but also allows your body to function better and to use its energy more efficiently. Plus, your body gets a boost from an exercise-induced increase in hormone levels that makes you feel more energized.”
  • Improved Self Esteem – Have you ever heard anyone saying they felt awful after a workout? If you have, it’s very rare (and they most likely didn’t mean it). Working out is great for self-esteem, achieving fitness goals mentally and physically is a great mood booster and will have you feeling so much better about yourself as you notice your health improving,

We Train Limitless, We Can Help

So how can we get moving? Walking, as we all know is a great form of exercise, there is nothing better than popping on a podcast and losing yourself in nature and the fresh air, but when it’s raining it’s not so fun and when you’re having a really bad mental health day, leaving the house can feel like a huge challenge. We have a solution no matter the weather! At We Train Limitless we’re passionate about exercising and working out for the right reasons whether it be for the mental or physical aspects. That’s why we designed the Limitless Free Trainer, the benefits of which, would you believe it, are limitless.

And whilst the Free Trainer itself has many benefits (you can find out about those here), one of the greatest things is that it can be installed in the home, meaning that on the days where you struggle to move the most, you don’t even have to leave your home to get in a quick workout. Just 10 minutes on the Free Trainer could improve your mental health.

Full Body Workout

If you’re looking to work out for your mental health but want to try something different to the usual walk or run, why not try a workout on the Free Trainer. We’ve pulled together a full-body workout for you to try. Repeat the exercises 12 times for 3 rounds and see how great you feel afterwards.

Back – Upper Arm Rows
Chest – Chest Press
Arms – Bicep Curls
Legs – Assisted Goblet Squats
Core – Plank Twists
Glutes – Curtsey Lunge

If, however, you need a little motivation first, here are some tips to get you started: https://wetrainlimitless.com/how-to-stay-motivated-to-workout-in-winter/

You can also find out more about the Limitless Free Trainer here: https://wetrainlimitless.com/your-free-trainer/