The start of the new year can be a time for great positive change, a new leaf for the new year allowing us to start anew with a fresh slate. But it’s also not uncommon to be hit with the January blues following after the inevitable high of all things Christmas and New Years. As a result, January has become synonymous with feelings of low mood, sadness, tiredness and low motivation. If this sounds familiar, panic not.
Exercise is one of the best routes to benefit from a whole host of physiological benefits that will boost your mood and pull you out of the January rut. Be it fast paced high heart rate work like HIIT or Boxing or mindful movement in yoga and pilates, each is proven to raise your mental game.
This blog will take you through how exercise can positively impact your happiness and recommends the best exercises you can take part in to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle.
How to improve happiness with exercise
There is a wealth of scientific information available discussing the part exercise plays in improving your mental health and assisting you in achieving that happy and healthy lifestyle. These benefits include aiding in managing anxiety and depression, reducing your knowledge of pain as well as boosting your mood. All these benefits are controlled by chemical changes that take place in the body during exercise. For example, increased oxygen being pumped to the brain along with increased endorphins, dopamine and serotonin which are known as “feel good” chemicals being released.
Not only are there many short term advantages of being active but exercise can also have a positive effect on a long term basis by maximising the structure of the brain linked to areas that control memory, emotions and learning as well as helping to prevent depression.
Best exercises for improving mental health
Interested in discovering which exercises will be the most beneficial to your mental health this January and give you that much needed mood boost? Below you will find the top 5 types of exercises for uplifting your mental health and giving you that extra spring in your step.
Aerobic activity i.e. cardio exercise is said to be one of the most beneficial forms of exercise for the brain in terms of boosting your mood due to endorphins being released as well as assisting in preventing illness and reducing health risks. This may be walking, running, cycling or swimming. Any form of exercise that gets your heart pumping faster. For example, VersaClimber classes at Sweat are sure to get your heart racing and burn off all those unwanted calories.
Outdoor exercise can aid in providing that extra happiness boost to your day. There is evidence showcasing that exercising in nature not only increases your mood but also self-esteem and can decrease tension, anger and depression. Outdoor exercise also acts as a huge stress relief by providing an easy way of exercising and a chance to get some fresh air and clear your mind.
Yoga - If you’re searching for an escape from your usual busy schedule yoga is your best option due to it often being connected with relations and tranquillity as well as increasing body awareness, reducing stress and muscle tension. Consistent yoga exercise has demonstrated the key benefits it provides such as lowering your heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure and boosting serotonin levels and as a result easing depression and lowering anxiety. Sweat offers a range of yoga classes tailored to all abilities which will help to strengthen the mind and body.
Resistance/ weight training provides a great distraction from your problems due to it requiring your full concentration. With proven positive effects including improved memory, lower anxiety and better sleep, as well as being great for boosting your self-esteem and confidence this type of exercise should become a key part of your fitness routine. Why not book a PT session at BXR to get guidance on the best weight training programme to achieve your body goals whilst improving your happiness.
Boxing has one of the most obvious benefits to mental health with it being a great way of letting off steam and taking out any pent up frustration, reducing your stress as well as providing a great anger management tool. Boxing like the other forms of exercise listed above also stimulates endorphin production increasing your happiness making your day a bit brighter. Try a boxing class at Sweat giving you the opportunity to get out your frustration and leave feeling de-stressed and in a positive state of mind.
These are the most effective ways you can boost your happiness and positively influence your mood with increased exercise. Although January is a particularly low month it is important to implement exercise throughout your daily life to ensure you maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. Check out the full details and list of the Sweat classes on the SweatByBXR website.