Exercise for Mental Health and Well-being

Exercise for Mental Health and Well-being

We know how exercise improves our general Health and Fitness, but along with the physical benefits, exercise can also have a huge impact on your mental health and well-being.  Exercise is not only great for the body, but also great for the mind.  It’s a mood changer!

There’s a strong link between being physically active and improved mental well-being, especially when we learn that depression is strongly associated with illness and even cardiovascular mortality.  People who engage in regular exercise at any intensity are less likely to suffer from mental health problems and there’s a vast amount of research showing that exercise can be as effective as medication when it comes to treating certain conditions.

Physical activity is proven to have positive effects on:

Anxiety problems

Depression

Stress Management

Self esteem

Sleep disorders

Relaxation

Positivity

Happiness

General Well-being

Physical activity that is practised as a group also helps enormously in combating social isolation.  During a group activity – such as running, classes, dance, team sports, etc. a person is included and engaged in a group of like-minded people. This helps improve motivation levels and alleviate stress and anxiety.

Exercise really can make you feel better WHATEVER your mood is: Motivated, Tired, Angry, Sad or Stressed, so make sure you plan your workout accordingly.  Although you may have a training plan to follow or a class you regularly attend, if you’re not on top form that particular day, change your usual workout for something else to suit your mood. There’s really no point in doing a workout that you’re not going to enjoy as it will only worsen your mood if you fail. If you tailor your workout to your emotional needs rather than physical needs, you’ll not only avoid a meltdown but you’ll enjoy the session much more!.

There’s no point in enduring a gruelling run if you’re feeling really tired – go for a brisk walk instead.  If you’re feeling angry or stressed, do some weightlifting or boxing (you’ll give your best punches!).  But if you’re feeling at your best that day – give it all you’ve got!.

Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is actually getting started, but lace up your trainers, take a deep breath and just do it – I guarantee you’ll feel better for it!.

Realistic Goal Setting

Realistic Goal Setting

January is the month when many people are super-motivated and make their resolutions for the year ahead. But do you set the same goals each year? And do you reach your goals?

If what you tried last time didn’t work, what makes you think that doing the same thing all over again is going to give you a different outcome?. Because if it didn’t work last time you tried, you need to change your plan of action!

Losing weight and getting fit is one of the most common resolutions, especially after spending the festive season eating and drinking so much. This is the reason why the gyms are packed this month, but after a couple of months of the initial ‘I’m going to lose weight and get fit’ motivation many give up.

But you don’t need to be one of the quitters! There are strategies for success in keeping that Health and Fitness motivation going all year.

Make it a Social thing……

Social interaction has been shown to make people more likely to workout so join a fitness class, a local running or sports group, get yourself a gym buddy or hire a personal trainer.  Paying out in advance for things may be a financial commitment, however, combine it with a commitment to another person and you’re much more likely to stick with your program. If you can’t make it to a group, having an online social fitness community (e.g., Facebook group) can also inspire you to keep working towards your goals.

Set and Commit to a specific goal…….

Although the long-term goal may be to lose 2 stone or run a 10k, it’s a good idea to set short term goals too. Sign up to the race and put it in your diary, but also set yourself weekly/monthly challenges that will lead you to your main goal. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time framed) and write them down!

Find the Best Exercise and Diet Plan for you……..

The best Exercise and Diet plan for you is the one that you enjoy doing!. You are far more likely to stay consistent if you actually enjoy what you’re doing and therefore this commitment will bring the greater long-term results.  If you find it boring, you won’t stick to it so try something else!

Keep Going……..

Those low moments when you feel like stuffing your face or cancelling your gym session are bound to happen so plan a strategy for dealing with it. If you blow it on a night out, get back on it the next day, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed – you only fail when you give up!

You don’t have to exercise or eat like an Athlete, It doesn’t matter if you’re first or last and so what if you didn’t get a slimmer of the week award!. The most important thing to making your New Year’s resolutions work in 2019 is to keep at it!

Happy 2019 – Here’s to your Health, Fitness and SUCCESS!

What’s stopping you from achieving your goals?

What’s stopping you from achieving your goals?

If you want to lose a stone, drop a dress size, run a 10k or get fit and healthy – what’s stopping you from achieving it?

Whatever kind of Goal you’re trying to reach it’s rarely going to be easy. There will be barriers along the way that will test your determination and willpower, but it all comes down to how important your goal is and how much of a priority you make it.

You have a choice – either you do it or you don’t!

Firstly, you must make sure the Goal you have set yourself is for all the right reasons.  It should be something that YOU want to achieve, not something you think you should, or that someone else has told you to do – a goal should be personal.

We all have a set of core beliefs about what we believe we are possible of achieving. Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right. You have to believe in yourself if you want to achieve your goal as you’ll never achieve anything that you don’t believe you can.

So, if you’ve already decided on your goal, make sure it’s a S.M.A.R.T Goal.

Specific – What exactly do you want to achieve?

Measured – How will you track your progress?

Achievable – Are you capable of reaching it?

Realistic – Is it a sensible goal to set?

Time-framed – When do you want to achieve it by?

If your goal isn’t S.M.A.R.T you could be setting yourself up for a failure from the start.  Setting your goals too high is the most common way NOT to reach your goals. For this reason, I’ve never been one to promote quick fix diets and gruelling exercise programmes. I’ve seen it happen time after time – embarking on a plan that becomes a chore to do and although it may have instant results, it’s just not attainable in the long run and often leads to injury, gluttony, burn out and ultimately you end up back to where you originally were.  If you want to make permanent changes, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to require you to be committed and will require a Lifestyle overhaul, not a month of extremely low-calorie diets and over exercising. Again, the choice is yours.

If you’re guilty of any of the following excuses there’s a back up plan for them all!

1. Putting it off until ‘someday.’

As ‘someday’ never appears on the calendar, you’ll never accomplish your goals if you keep putting them off. If a goal is important to you, create a time framed plan of action and stick to it

2. Waiting to take action until you ‘feel’ ready.

If you wait until you feel ready to tackle something tough you may be waiting a long time so act now!

3. Not being prepared

Change isn’t easy – there’ll always be barriers in your path to your success sent to try you, so be prepared! Some days are harder than others but once you develop a plan for dealing with those situations you’ll feel more confident in your own abilities to keep going. Use your mental strength to keep reminding yourself you’re going to need to work hard to achieve your goals.

4. Seeing mistakes as failure.

Progression rarely happens in a straight line. Sometimes, you’ll have a blip and take one step back but it doesn’t mean you’ve gone all the way back to square one.  Just because you failed to reach a goal in the past, it doesn’t mean you will fail again.  Don’t let your past experiences doubt your future aspirations. Rather than thinking you’re destined for failure, learn from it, move on and get back on track.

5. Not making your goal a priority.

Goals are easy to set but actually doing the work is another story as you have to decide what kind of priority you’re going to give your goal. Otherwise, all your other daily activities will take over. Whatever your plan is – write it down and put it in your diary and again STICK TO IT!

6. Giving up before you see results.

Everyone wants results to happen immediately but just because you can’t see results, doesn’t mean your efforts are wasted. You need to stick to your goals longer than you might think before you start to see and experience the changes.

7. Sabotaging your goals just before the finish line.

This one may sound strange, however, the fear of successfully reaching your goal can sometimes be a real problem. Perhaps you don’t believe you’re worthy of success? Be honest with yourself and be on the lookout for warning signs that you might be about to give up.

8. Setting your sights too high.

If you’re really excited about making positive changes, you might be tempted to set the bar too high but if you take on too much too fast, you’ll set yourself up for failure.  Set some short-term achievements and celebrate each milestone along the way.

Are you prepared for the Challenge?

Once you’ve decided on your personal goal, you’ll need to be fully prepared if you’re going to achieve it so preparing in advance is vital. Having a sensible plan and being mentally prepared is what will make or break your achievements.

Excuses will arise that may prevent you from taking action, however try taking away all the negative thoughts and reasons you CAN’T do it and replace them with reasons you CAN!

Think positive – you’ve got this!

A day in my life

A Day in my Life

As a Personal Trainer, Class Instructor, Writer, Business owner and a single Mum, I have no choice but to lead a  super organised lifestyle.  In fact if I haven’t got each day planned out in advance I get too stressed out to manage it all, so being organised is my No.1 priority.  I’m very lucky to be able to say that although my weekdays are hectic, I really love my lifestyle and all the challenges that go with it!

The Morning routine……

My alarm goes off at 5.45am each morning.  I’ll be completely honest here – I don’t jump up full of motivation.  I hate getting out of bed BUT once I’m up, dressed and I’ve talked myself round, I feel ready to tackle the day ahead.

After my breakfast (usually porridge) I generally train with clients from 7am to 12.30pm.  Now that my children are older I’d rather be out of the way of the usual ‘are you up and dressed and ready for school yet?’ chaos!.  If I don’t have to leave until later, I use the time to go for a run before work (again I don’t always feel like it but the feeling of going out for a run before I start my day is great so I have to talk myself into it!).

Training…..

I always make the time every day for my own training (I schedule it in my diary at the beginning of each week). I usually go to the gym or go for a run as soon as I’ve finished training with clients. My clients sessions inspire me, especially if someone’s done a kick ass session – I go to the gym and do the same!

Going back to the diary……I’m a creature of habit.  I like to do the same thing at the same time everyday which may sound really boring to some, but it helps me feel more organised and in turn I get more done.

After my gym session or run, I go home and have lunch which is generally some kind of salad, chicken or eggs and rice combination.  I’m not the greatest of cooks but I try to be as creative as possible and if I’m taking a photo of my lunch to post on social media, I find I try a little bit harder with the presentation and in turn it actually tastes nicer.  I then walk my dog and I use this time to re-charge my brain.

Stress Less…..

If you’ve got a hectic lifestyle it’s so important to look after yourself. As the saying goes ‘You can’t pour from an empty vessel’. It’s not being selfish, its self-care.  I switch my phone off for just 20-30 minutes and try to clear my mind of any stress that’s going on.  It’s not always easy to turn off from the outside world, but it’s very beneficial to your personal well-being and mental health to take just a bit of time each day to get some head space. Just breath and live in the moment without any distractions – even if it is while walking the dog in the rain!

Evenings…..

So, after my half an hour of calm, the madness begins for round 2!

As the kids are returning from school I have my crazy 2 hours of the day.  You know the scenario……I’m sat at my laptop trying to write, do my admin, pay bills, sort client folders etc. and the kids are asking ‘When’s tea ready?’ ‘Where’s my rugby shorts?’ ‘Can my friend come for tea?’ the dogs running around like a lunatic, the window cleaners knocking at the door and while you’ve successfully managed to sit and have a wee in private you get interrupted by a PPI call!

I constantly feel like I should do more with my kids – they always see me working, on my phone or going out to work.  However, I was a stay at home mum whilst they were both pre-school so I suppose its good for them to see me now running a business and I’m hopefully inspiring them to do something they love and to work hard at it.

After our evening meal (which I always try to sit down as a family to eat) I’m back out to work to train my evening clients or class members.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I love my job, there is no way I’d leave the house on a night.  I’m a real home bird and could quite easily stay at home all day, but when I get to my class and see my class members giving it their all, I just love it!  I’ve got a great team at my classes and along with my PT clients, as much as it’s MY job to motivate them all to work hard – they really motivate ME to do my best too.

I usually have a couple of hours on an evening before I go to bed and if I’ve got everything on my list done for that day I get chance to put my feet up and watch TV or read.  Actually, this very rarely happens if I’m honest! In reality, I tend to walk the dog (again), pick up my phone, text clients, google workouts and post on social media (I’m working on not doing this as much BUT it’s a vital part of my job!). Then just as I’m about to get into bed I’m usually reminded that I haven’t washed a P.E. kit that needs to be ready for the next day!

Bedtime……

Now I’d like to say I switch my bedside light off at 10pm and fall fast asleep but I currently have a bit of a problem with my sleep pattern.  Sleep is so important for good health and I know I should go straight to sleep but my brain doesn’t seem to agree – this again, is an area I need to work on, but it’s so hard when you have a zillion ideas buzzing though your mind when your head hits the pillow.

Weekends…..

So, this is my daily routine Monday to Friday and by the time the weekend arrives I generally switch mode.  I’m an all or nothing type of person and although I love going for a long run on a Saturday morning, I also love slobbing on the settee in the afternoon.  It’s the same with food, I eat healthily 90% of time but, I can eat A LOT, so I really look forward to my Saturday night Meal out or takeaway – it’s all about the overall balance.  I haven’t drunk alcohol for over 2 years now and it makes a massive difference to my weekends, in fact it makes a difference to my working week too.  Since giving up the booze I’m more productive, I perform my job a lot better and I seem to have more time as I don’t have to nurse a hangover which is a good job really as when my alarm goes off at 545am on Monday morning, I’m ready to do it all over again!.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and Recovery

No matter how extensive your fitness program may be, the time you spend working out is only a part of the process necessary to achieve your fitness goals. If you’re planning your training but not your recovery, you’re not going to fully reap the rewards from your Workouts.

One thing that is often misunderstood is the fact that your body becomes stronger AFTER you exercise and NOT during the actual workout itself.  The real secret to getting results depends on what happens during the recovery period following the workout.  This is why the correct recovery and rest is so important.

There are different types of recovery – Short-term (which happens immediately after a workout set) and Long-term (the period of time between workout sessions).

Short-term recovery can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and it’s important to replace energy stores within this period. But the longer recovery period between workouts is the one to focus on, because it’s the time after the workout when the body adapts to the training session.  The correct care of your muscles and connective tissue, eating the right type of post workout nutrition, the quality and quantity of sleep and, even the types of clothes you wear, can all promote the post-workout recovery that’s necessary to help you maximise the results from your time spent exercising.

Post-workout Nutrition
During exercise, your muscles expend energy and experience stress. After exercise, the body needs to replenish energy with carbohydrates and repair tissue with protein so having a post-workout snack with the correct ratio of carbohydrate and protein can help massively. The correct nutrition also assists the release of the muscle-building hormones to repair and build new muscle tissue.

Stretching and Myofascial Release
Stretching, Massage, Foam rollers, Compression balls and Rolling sticks can all help to reduce muscle tightness. If a muscle doesn’t cool-down properly, the collagen fibres (which are part of the connective tissue surrounding each muscle) can create knots. Massage works by manipulating muscle tissue to break up knots and can help reduce muscle tightness and improve joint movement.

Sleep

Sleep is probably one of the most important factors that can help improve your overall health and fitness. Your body produces most of the hormones needed for tissue repair during sleep so it’s vital to get enough to assist in the recovery process.

Ice, Cold Baths and Cryotherapy
Cold treatments are extremely effective for recovery as they can help cool down the body’s core temperature, reduce inflammation and promote healing in tissue that was used during the workout. The cold temperature brings increased blood to the area, which brings nutrients and oxygen to help promote healing.

Sauna or Hot Tub
The heat from a sauna or hot tub increases the body’s circulation, which removes metabolic waste products while also carrying oxygen and other nutrients necessary to help repair tissue used during the workout.

Training Periodisation
Alternating between high and low intensity workouts (muscle confusion) either daily, weekly or monthly and taking a few days off every few weeks to allow the body to rest and recover fully.
Compression Clothing
Wearing Compression clothing before and after a workout is a relatively new form of recovery treatment that may also be effective. The pressure from the tight clothing can improve circulation which will help remove metabolic waste and promote blood flow to help the tissue repair and rebuild.

Too much exercise without enough rest and recovery can lead to injury or illness, both of which could prevent your regular workouts.  There are dangers to overtraining without the correct recovery periods between and If you don’t take enough R&R for your muscles to adapt this will certainly affect your ability to achieve your fitness goals.

NEVER forget to include RECOVERY into your Fitness programme!