It’s all been said before, so let’s just state that 2020 and2021 have been two years which no one will forget in a hurry.
Just about every single person’s work and personal lives have been affected, some have been absolutely turned on their heads. There’s been grief, anxiety, uncertainty… an unhealthy mix which has left many with a degree of mental health concern.
Recovering from the effects of the pandemic may be a long process for some and there might even be the need for short-term medical intervention, but the one thing that we can all do is to give our mental health a much needed boost – through the power of exercise.
Nature’s anti-anxiety meds
Exercise is a natural anti-anxiety treatment. It’s all about endorphins. As you get moving your body releases them and the overall effect is one of enormous well-being. Tension is relieved, stress levels are reduced and both physical and mental energy receive the kind of boost that puts caffeine-infused drinks to shame!
The mindfulness boost
What’s more, through time and with a bit of practice, concentrating on your body whilst you exercise and identifying the individual sensations you feel - through your feet or in your breathing for example - can provide an even bigger benefit. The level of mindfulness which can be achieved is a sure-fire way to stop the nagging worries and doubts from taking afoot-hold in your thoughts.
Breaking the circle of stress
The negative effect which stress can have on your body and mind can become a particularly vicious cycle. Tensed muscles, throbbing headaches, tightness in the chest and insomnia aren’t always obvious as being signs of stress, but the appearance of one (or all) of these symptoms can certainly lead to even more stress – and so the cyclical process begins…
As you begin to exercise an amazing combination of things start to happen. The physical movement, even in it’s gentlest form, relaxes the tense muscles and relieves the pressure on those points where you’re holding the stress, whilst the flow of endorphins tells your brain you’re feeling great. And that doesn’t even cover the massive benefits you start to see as you get fitter and find even more energy to do the things in life you love!
A great route to happiness
Even if you don’t feel that you need to de-stress, there are so many other reasons why exercise can make you happier. The very positive side-effects which a good workout can provide include better sleep, sharper memory, clarity of thought and stronger resilience to life challenges. What’s not to love? And there’s no time like the present to grab those life-changing benefits for body and soul.