The mind and body are often thought as two separate entities but the mind can’t function unless the body is working properly and vice versa. I recently went a few weeks without any exercise and found that my energy levels dropped and my mood changed. It’s certainly true that if you feel low or anxious then you may do less which can make you feel worse. A vicious cycle.
It can be hard to get active when you’re down but dragging yourself out for a walk, run or even a swim can lift your mood and help you be more in control. It can help break that cycle of negative thoughts that feed your mood.
The benefits of keeping active are obvious:
- It reduce the risk of diseases & physical health problems;
- Helps promote happier moods and reduces feeling of stress;
- Gives you a clearer mind and sense of calm;
- Increases your self-esteem;
- Make you more likely to sleep better.
Any activity you do should be enjoyable and if you don’t know what you might enjoy then try a few different things. Trust me when I say it will give you a sense of control over your life, the choices you make and can help you escape.
As well as the physical benefits there are also biological responses. As your heart rate increases your body releases chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters deal with feelings of reward, alertness, contentment and wellbeing.
The brain also secretes a “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” which helps the brain cells to grow and develop. This protein found in regions of the brain controls eating, drinking and body weight. The effect has been compared to a high when taking drugs, leaving you feeling euphoric and relaxed after a good workout.
To work properly your body needs regular exercise and most of us feel good after a an active session. If you keep active then you’re less likely to be depressed, anxious or tense. I know if I’ve had a bad day at work or I’m feeling a little down then a run can always help lift my mood.
Being outdoors is my therapy and engaging in activities to promote these feelings is something I can’t recommend enough. So what are you waiting for? Get outdoors.