Taking good care of your health is vital at any age, and the good news is that it’s never too late to start. Exercise is good for your heart, increases muscle mass, helps with mobility and has countless other benefits. But did you know that physical activity and mood go hand in hand?
In recent years, there has been a growing amount of research into the positive impact exercise has on mood disorders. Even just going for a gentle walk can improve your mood! If you are looking for a London nutritionist then contact us and we can help you with a tailored sports nutrition plan curated for your needs.
Here are 10 ways physical activity can boost your mood:
1. Cardio and aerobic exercises
Maybe the thought of getting sweaty and being exhausted doesn’t exactly boost your mood right now. But it’s been proven that cardiovascular activity and aerobic exercise release the endorphins you need to feel great. So, get your heart rate up with some strenuous and mindful brisk walking, go for a high-octane cycle, head to the gym, use an elliptical trainer, or go for a jog or swim.
Why not add social benefits to your cardio workout? Joining a local team for basketball or football or heading to the tennis courts gives you the benefits of interacting with people and working out. You may find a leaderboard or class at your local gym, or you could compete online on a fitness-tracking app. There’s something perfect for you at any age.
Also, why not maximise the health benefits before you hit the gym with our expert nutrition advice on what to eat before your cardio workout.
What’s so physical about gardening? It may not be as fast and exciting as basketball or football. But if you’ve ever spent a morning weeding beds or strimming borders in the sun, you know how physically exhausting it can be.
We’re not saying you have to become perfectionistic and have a lush, manicured lawn with carefully pruned and landscaped bushes - gardening is one discipline where everything is up to you! But however you like to garden, this hobby is known to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
So, trim a bonsai tree every day, mow that lawn, plant some vegetables, just admire a succulent or supervise nature taking its course - whatever you do will improve your mood and promote general health!
Again, yoga isn’t usually the most strenuous form of physical activity. But as a system of meditation and breathing exercises paired with various physical postures, it’s easy to see how yoga can help with anxiety symptoms. This discipline can help you learn how to relax and ease tension in your body, make you more flexible, improve your mobility, and even help you tone up! These exercises even reduce depression and PTSD symptoms and make you more aware of your body. So, why not start the day with this lazy, relaxing workout for both body and mind?
What’s more fun than dancing? It’s not only that all that movement poses quite a workout, but you also get the endorphin release of enjoying what you’re doing and the double endorphin release of dancing with someone. So whether it’s dancing in your kitchen as you cook, throughout the day, or with someone at a local club, you’ll get plenty of physical, social, and emotional benefits!
If you regularly dance and would like to fuel your body to maximise your performance we have written a helpful pre workout nutrition guide for dancers.
5. Commuting - cycling and public transport
The daily office commute is one of the most common complaints from many lines of work. Whether you must routinely drive across the country, or sit in traffic for an hour, the time away from home and being stuck in one spot doing nothing is a real pain. But if there’s one we’ve learnt over the last few years, it’s how only to commute when necessary and how to make your commute better!
So, how do you commute right? One thing you might enjoy is hopping on your bike. Cycling is a great way to take the scenic, mindful route to your workplace. Or, what about relaxing all the way to work on public transport? You can always get some physical activity by walking up and down on the train or getting off the bus early if the weather’s nice. If you must drive, try making a playlist of your favourite music or finding a good podcast to listen to.
If you work from home, hopefully, this frees up more time to make your necessary journeys in the way you enjoy!
6. Enjoyable cleaning
Does cleaning already improve your mood, or do you find it a stressful chore? It may surprise you, but there are plenty of ways to boost your mood and physical health when you tidy up.
If you wash your car, take a sponge and bucket and make it into a workout. Scrub the grill, dust the dashboard, vacuum under the seats, and spritz the chairs with a fragrant spray. When you’ve finished, a gorgeous car is your mood-boosting reward.
Or do you love to cook or watch TV? Why not make things just right for your favourite show, or prepare a special meal? Before your show starts, run the hoover around the living room, reserve your spot on the sofa, and get the cushions just right. Then reward yourself with your favourite drink or snack.
You’re not just tidying - you’re making your favourite places special.
7. Making your routine more physical
If there’s something you do every day anyway, why not find a way to make this more physical? For example, if you make a sandwich, why not buy an unsliced loaf and slice your bread by hand in the morning? Not only will this mean your loaf keeps fresh for longer, but you will also be getting the dexterity-increasing, mobility-boosting, endorphin-releasing benefits of physical activity.
Or, instead of cooking shop-bought pasta, try rolling out your dough. Whether you cut it into strips or twist it into a complex shape, you’ll get some beneficial physical activity and the satisfaction of creating something.
Any runner can tell you about the “runner’s high” they get after pushing through a stitch to make it to the end of their running goal. Indeed, the chemical changes running causes in your brain can be advantageous! Getting started can be challenging, but apps like Couchto5K or good music help. Start small and build up your activity daily and with time you will be smashing your 5k target.
P.S If you experience that unpleasant urge to go to the toilet during your run, do not worry you are not alone! We can have written this handy article on the best nutrition strategies to reduce those gastrointestinal symptoms during your run.
Swimming is the way to go if you’re looking for a slightly less strenuous form of activity. What’s more fun than splashing around at the pool? Plus, in the end, you can relax in the sauna or have a nice shower!
If you’re brave enough, many mental health pioneers swear by the many benefits of cold water swimming. The shock is thought to reset your vagus nerve, reducing anxiety.
The atmosphere at the bowling alley is enjoyable. Chucking that hefty ball down the lane can make you work out while chatting with your team and provides social benefits. Whether you win or lose, it’s a win-win situation. So check out local meetups or the local bowling team.
If you are looking for a London dietitian to help advise on sports nutrition advice contact us for a free discovery call to see how we can help you maximise those mental health benefits of exercise.