Improve your physical and mental health in FIVE simple steps!

Did you know that there is significant scientific evidence that suggests when you exercise you are not only improving your physical health but your mental health too?  When we exercise or get ‘huffy puffy’ as we like to call it, we release ‘happy hormones’ such as serotonin.  These hormones improve our overall wellbeing, cognitive function and even boost our immune function!  How cool is that?

1. Find something you love

Get out there and try something new! Joining in different physical activities and sports with the ones you love or enjoy being around is healthy, fun and good for the soul!  You then get the benefits of social interaction too.  The more fun you are having the more you are likely to stick to it.  Mix it up, if you try something and you don’t like it, try something different or even find a different instructor/club/venue, they all vary quite a bit.

2. Start slow and set some achievable goals

There is nothing more motivating than seeing yourself improve, grow and achieve results.  Exercise has known positive benefits for state of mind/mental health and may be the one thing that will help better cope with the tough stuff.  You could try walking for 10 minutes per day or 20 minutes 3 times per week and build it up from there!

3. Movement to music

Music that is upbeat/high tempo is a great way to get extra from your workout. You tend to work harder and longer too! Music, it lifts your spirits, is good for your soul, makes the time go quicker, distracts you and helps you forget your worries.  If music isn’t your thing, why not listen to a podcast or some talkback radio?!

4. Consistency!

Planning, consistency and action.  Get your exercise gear prepared early or if you are going in the morning – lay it out before you go to sleep. Book in a time with a friend so you are committed and have accountability.  Get up 45 minutes earlier in the morning. Walk during your lunch break? Play games with the kids OR make up an active game with the family so everyone is involved. Creativity is key.

5. Stretching

It only takes 5 minutes to stretch, but you need to do it before and after a workout.  Stretching prevents injury and aids in recovery! A pre-workout stretch can include gentle joint rotations/movements, a walk or something a little more active to get your whole body moving. When you’ve finished your workout stretch all the major muscle groups of your body including your quads, hamstrings, butt, calf muscles, back, chest and arms.  Ensure you hold each stretch to at least the count of 20.