Our Top Five Reasons Why Exercise Totally Transforms Your Mental Health...
It’s 2019 and mental health is finally being taken more seriously, no more are we a society convinced that ‘if you can’t see it it doesn’t exist’ and communities are starting to provide more and more support for those who suffer with mental health issues.
Although we still have a long way to go, we are making small waves in helping people understand and accept that we need to treat mental health problems just as thoroughly as physical health problems.
Mind, the leading charity for mental health awareness and action report that “approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year”. Every seven years a survey is carried out in England to measure the number of people who have different types of mental health problems and in 2016 it was reported that:
- 5.9 in 100 people suffer from a generalised anxiety disorder
- 3.3 in 100 people suffer from depression
- 20.6 in 100 people have suicidal thoughts
- 6.7 in 100 people make a suicide attempt
- 7.3 in 100 people self harm
With figures on the rise it’s more important than ever that we all have an arsenal of coping techniques that we can call on if things get tough. To prevent us from becoming a nation of pill poppers more and more people are looking for alternative therapies to prescription drugs that GPs seem to handing out here, there and everywhere as a first port of call.
The number of medicines dispensed for anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic attacks has more than doubled in the past 10 years, and between 2006 and 2016 it was reported that the number of anti-depressants prescribed rose by a staggering 108.5%.
So how do we begin to help ourselves when times are hard and we hit rock-bottom? At U-First Fitness Society we believe that exercise and physical activity is one of the most under-utilised anti-depressants there is and we want to see 2019 be the year that more GPs refer mental health sufferers out to exercise professionals if appropriate, rather than rushing to hand out drugs at the first sign of trouble.
Here are our top five reasons why exercise leads to better and improved mental health:
Serotonin is an endorphin, the feel-good chemical released by the brain when we exercise. It is a neurotransmitter which is produced and spread by neurons in the brain. While the exact cause of depression is largely unknown, some researchers believe that a serotonin imbalance may influence your mood in a way that leads to depression or other mental health disorders. The four most effective ways to boost serotonin activity are sunlight, massage, exercise, and remembering happy events, so there’s never been a better time to grab a friend, get your trainers on, get outside in the sunshine and MOVE! At U-First Fitness Society one of our favourite parts of our training sessions is the smiling faces looking back at us at the end of every session and the amazing sense of achievement in the air.
Regular and consistent exercise is an investment in yourself, your health and your mind, body and soul. No wonder it makes us feel so damn good! When regular exercise becomes a habit it enforces a feeling of happiness in us that not much else can match. Regular exercise helps us to feel better and more confident about our appearance and health and by meeting even small exercise goals consistently, you’ll feel a big sense of achievement which will leave you feeling strong, powerful and able to face anything! Our U-First members continuously report back feelings of empowerment and huge increases in self-confidence week on week. You can’t put a price on that!
In this increasingly busy world we live in sleep often falls way down on our list of priorities and many people are guilty of neglecting themselves in that department and burning the candle at both ends. Poor sleep can contribute to lack of focus and motivation, forgetfulness, low mood, tiredness and stress, which can leave us feeling frustrated. However, even short bursts of exercise can help regulate your sleep patterns. Physical activity increases our time spent in deep sleep, the most physically restorative sleep phase there is. Deep sleep helps to boost immune function, support cardiac health, and control stress and anxiety. Here at U-First Fitness Society our members have reported improved sleep after their training sessions which leaves them feeling totally refreshed in the morning and ready to slay the day!
INCREASED ENERGY LEVELS
Feeling more energetic is so important in this day and age, especially as so many of us sit behind a desk all day with very little movement from 9-5, not to mention that dreaded 3pm slump we all know so well. When we consistently exercise we’re left feeling more energised and alert, which will benefit you in almost every aspect of your life. Physical activity creates a need for more oxygen in the body. Because of this higher consumption of oxygen, our lung capacity also increases as we exercise. As we continue to exercise more often, more consistently and make it a habit our aerobic capacity increases, allowing our bodies to deliver more and more oxygen to our brains and blood streams, helping us feel more energised, alert, and ready to face whatever the day might bring. We love hearing our U-First members report back on how much energy they have now compared to how they felt prior to joining us because we know those feelings are going to continue to grow and grow, leaving them feeling absolutely unstoppable!
Exercise allows us to adopt better coping strategies. So many people turn to alcohol or drugs to help them mask or cope with their low moods which inevitably leads to a downward spiral or other negative behaviours that ultimately make symptoms worse. When faced with times of mental or emotional stress it can be hard to motivate yourself to get out and move, but by taking that first step you allow yourself to feel empowered that you are taking positive actions towards a healthier and stronger you. Starting out can be difficult, especially if you have no idea what to do. Here at U-First we encourage and support each other, trainers and members alike. Pushing yourself physically is no where near as daunting when you have a whole group of smiling faces around you all striving for the same goal. We encourage people from all walks of life to come down and join us. No matter your age, ability or confidence levels our training methods are effective and fun and help you to achieve the results you want, helping those feelings of insecurity, weakness, self-loathing and negativity to slowly but surely melt away.
So, with so many great benefits for your mental health, what are you waiting for? Start today and you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier, stronger and more positive you!