When you’re feeling down and lethargic, exercise is probably the last thing you want to do. The thought of it alone can expel your last remaining smidgeon of energy, and make you just want to curl up in a ball and sleep.
Exercise, however, is a fantastic way of beating the blues, especially when incorporated into your weekly (if not daily!) routine. It has even been suggested by psychologists that exercise alone can help to combat depression more effectively than antidepressants. But why is it?
Vigorous exercise (enough that your heart begins to race and your body sweats) releases endorphins, which are also known as the happy hormone. They help to calm you, reduce stress, and combat depression. They also burn excess calories so we can treat ourselves to that extra slice of pizza – excellent!
Exercise obviously does more for us than just improve our mental health though. It helps to keep our bodies physically healthy too, which will have a large impact on our future. By keeping our bodies fit and healthy now, we are more likely to keep our strength and flexibility when we are older.
Exercise does not mean having to spend time down the gym surrounded by other sweaty bodies, which can be a massive trigger for anxiety and self-confidence. It can be done out and about in your neighbourhood, down the beach or at your local park, and even in your own home.
Examples of Exercises:
- Walking (bonus for walking with a pushchair!)
- Washing your car
- Using a skipping rope
- Walking up and down stairs
For more examples of exercise you can do, and how long you should spend on them, have a look at this page over at PsychCentral.
You can find more of the Self-Care Series here:
- 20 More Activities
- Peer Support
- 20 Activities For Your Self-Care List
- Why is Self-Care Important?
- What is Self-Care?