Written by Fiona Doran-Smith
The Wellbeing Show | 4th Sunday of the month 9-11pm
My first show of 2018 was all about exercise. I had not one but two guests join me to talk about how their particular brand of exercise impacts wellbeing. Exercise is a personal passion of mine and so important for our overall wellbeing.
We know being physically active is good for our bodies but it is also good for our minds – emotionally and psychologically. Lots of us don’t get enough exercise to stay healthy, but physical activity is especially important if you have a mental health issue (whether that’s stress, depression anxiety or any other mental health issue).
This is because people with mental health problems are more likely to:
- have a poor diet
- smoke or drink too much alcohol
- be overweight or obese
So if you have a mental health issue, the health benefits of becoming more physically active are even more significant.
My guests on this show were Mark Houlden from Ultimate Fitness in Leatherhead and Anise Bullimore from Walk Coach Learn. We had a great variety of tips on this show to share with our listeners:
* Set realistic, sensible goals; make it easy and simple at first. It’s much easier for you to stick to it if you haven’t been unrealistic about what you can achieve.
* Use HIIT (high intensity interval training) basic exercises, you don’t need to work out for hours – just 5 minutes each day will really add up
* Use body weight exercises, no equipment needed. Things like squats, planks and press ups.
* Don’t miss leg day! Working the larger muscles will burn more calories and build a good foundation for any other exercise.
* Do what you enjoy!
* Walk more, get off the bus a stop early or leave the car behind when you go to the shops.
* Find the parks and green spaces near you and make the most of them. Pay attention to the environment as you walk.
* Get out for a lunch time walk and even have a walking meeting – you’ll find people might be more open and responsive as well as better able to problem solve
When feeling low or anxious it can be easy to get into an unhealthy cycle – you do less because you’re not feeling good, but doing less makes you feel worse and so on and so on. But there is lots of evidence to show that exercise improves mood – it is one of the best short term emotion management strategies. So start small, take a break and head off for a walk around the block. You may be surprised at how good it makes you feel!