What effect does exercise have on our mental well being?

Working within the fitness industry, the term exercise or runner’s ‘high’ is something we hear on a regular basis. Client’s feeling great after a workout is very common and gives us as trainers a great sense of achievement.

Research suggests that anxiety can be reduced for up to 24 hours following exercise. This was in comparison to control groups undergoing quiet rest, whose anxiety was reduced for less than 30 minutes.

The government guidelines suggest that we take part in 2 to 4 exercise sessions per week. If we follow an exercise program that lasts for at least two to four months we will benefit from improved wellbeing as this is the length of time it takes for physiological changes to take place.

In order to reduce our stress levels you should take part;

  1.  in both aerobic and anaerobic exercise so resistance weight training as well as cardio. A well-planned weights session will achieve both of these
  2.  in exercise that you enjoy and that takes place in a noncompetitive environment, with the focus being on the exercise itself.
  3. in an activity that frees your mind from everyday issues. This gives you a chance to switch off
  4. in exercise that lasts least 20-30 minutes in order for you to see progress and changes to your body

Following an eight week exercise program can have a significantly positive effect on your mental health as well as your physical health.  Once your body starts to change this stimulates your mental well being and you start to feel better about yourself and your outlook becomes more positive.

Consequently, it is now widely accepted that physical exercise can benefit mental wellbeing and many sporting organisations within the UK are now signed up to a mental health charter to help promote such issues (England Athletics, 2016) and the National Health Service also recognises these benefits (NHS, 2016).

Sleep patterns and diet should also be considered when addressing any mental well being issues that you may have and these work hand in hand with exercise. Often people who are stressed or anxious will over eat which then results in weight gain and becomes a vicious circle.

If you need further help with you weight loss goal then please do contact us