02 Nov The top 5 ways to get a mental sweat
We all know the physical benefits when training but what you may not know is the wealth of mental benefits exercise brings too. Boosting brain power, helping control addiction, inspiring creativity and of course reducing stress are just a few of the mental benefits when exercising.
So to get the best mental return when training, read my top 5 tips.
1. Quality not quantity
You don’t want to train for hours on end every day (which can be a sure fire way to give yourself an injury). Experts say a moderate approach with shorter workouts will have the most profound effect on your mental wellbeing. One study of 1.2 million US adults found that people who exercise for 45-minute sessions enjoy better mental health than those who sweat it out during marathon workouts.
Research also showed that three to five days of exercise a week gives people a bigger reduction in poor mental health days than those who don’t exercise at all, as well as those who worked out over five times a week.
2 Every rep, every step, every session counts
Adding as little as 20 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to your morning routine can have an immediate mood boost. Not only will it quickly spark an endorphin high, but the positive effects can last up to 12 hours. And it’s not just cardio exercise that brings joy. In fact all types of exercise are consistently linked to feeling happy.
Those who accumulated at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days were 30 percent more likely to report being ‘happy’ than those who didn’t get their fitness fix. And the mood-enhancing benefits are long-lasting – they can still be in your system for weeks following your exercise.
3 Train with other people
Group fitness is one of my passions mainly because I love the camaraderie of training with other people. Plus it makes me push myself harder than I would have on my own. Group workouts often give people a greater level of stress-reduction and physical, mental, and emotional quality of life compared to those people who worked out alone. Plus working out with like minded people also gives increased levels of individual enjoyment, exertion and satisfaction.
4. Make sure you lift
Many scientists believe lifting weights can have a similar effect to antidepressant medications or psychotherapy. And you don’t need to lift heavy. There are great mental health benefits regardless whether you’re pushing massive chunks of iron overhead or lifting the lightest weights. It’s not about the strength you build, but the feeling of accomplishment and confidence that goes hand-in-hand with resistance training.
5. Go green
Let’s face it, anytime you go outside on a beautiful sunny day, it improves your mood. In fact “green exercise” (exercising in nature) can have amazing mental benefits compared to a gym.
Training outside helps lower blood pressure and stress, helps with insomnia, gives you more energy (from the sun) and provides you with a big mental health boost and improves your overall well-being.