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Can exercise really effect mood?

So can exercise really effect mood?
There’s certainly evidence that vigorous exercise has an effect on mood. Trivedi and others have shown that burning off 350 calories three times a week in sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as anti-depressants. 

Brain imaging studies indicate that exercise stimulates the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged during depression. And animal studies have found that physical exertion increases the production of brain molecules that can improve connections between nerve cells and act as a natural antidepressant.

So what happens in our body when we exercise?
Endorphin's such as serotonin and dopamine are released into the brain which instantly gives us that feel good feeling we crave.

So why don’t we all just exercise, although exercise provides the feel good effect we don’t actually feel it until approximately 30 minutes after exercise has started. Unfortunately prior to that we have to:

  • Get ready for exercise
  • Travel to where we are exercising
  • Endure the initial pain before the feel good effect

 And the thought of all this leads to… the excuses:

  • I don’t have enough time
  • I’m too busy
  • I don’t know how
  • I hate working out
  • It’s boring
  • I can’t afford to workout
  • I'll start tomorrow

 Sound familiar?  Don’t worry you’re not alone, a university of Bristol-led study found that 80% of people failed to meet the government target of taking part in moderate exercise at least 12 times in a four week period.  In fact 1.5 million people fail to do even 20 minutes of exercise a day.

So I guess the real question is how do we beat the system and make exercise easy, fun and a priority.

Simple, here’s four easy points (aka the fantastic four) you need to do if you want to live a better quality of life:

1.   Don’t get a Goal, Get a S.M.A.R.T Goal!
People with a written specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely Goal are more likely to stick to it. Baby step it, think in terms of weeks first what you want to achieve and progress to the long term.

2.   Buddy up!
Find a training partner – someone who wants to achieve similar or even the same things as you, having someone to push you makes all the difference.

3.   Exercise anywhere!!
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring, and it certainly doesn’t have to just be at the gym, walking, being active with kids/partners or even taking up a sport can be just as beneficial

4.   Everybody needs me time.
Here we come on to the age old one, I have no time, though in your mind this may be a plausible excuse.  It only takes 30 minutes to change the neurotransmitters in the brain and get the High.

2% of your day, 2% you can dedicate to working on yourself entirely.  That 2% that everybody needs. So what we really need to do is stop looking for a time or a slot to fit it in and make a time, however short and pointless it may seem, anything is better than nothing, and your body will thank you for it.

Happy training!

Total Fitness