our journey

EXERCISE AND MENTAL HEALTH AND WHY WE SHOULD TACKLE OUR FEELINGS

POSTED: 16TH January 2017

With Mental Health Month nearly closing to an end, we teamed up with Personal Trainer Dan and Mental Health Blogger Richard to speak about their personal experience with Mental Illness and how exercise has helped them.


Dan Smullen is a personal trainer from Dublin, has been in the industry for over 9 years and has a Bsc. In Sport Science- and blogs at http://bloke.ie

The Science-y Part:

Although we are determined and more motivated than ever to stick to our New Year's resolutions, for most of us January is a complete struggle. We are broke, it’s cold and dark and we just want to crawl back into bed. The statistics from the Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2016 show that for every 100,000 people in the UK and Ireland, over 10.8% lose their life to suicide. With January being Mental Health Wellness month, it is important that we tackle our feelings and do not give into them. 

Exercise for your feelings not just to lose weight.

We start our New Year's fitness resolutions to lose weight but unfortunately by February, about 10% of us drop off and give up. By the end of the year, 30% of us will have given up only to repeat the cycle again. Maybe our reasoning for getting fit in the new year is wrong? Exercise has been proven to combat depression. Without us knowing, exercise can impact your feelings. For example, when you are tired or sad you move slower and when you’re anxious, you either rush around or stop completely and are left feeling paralyzed. As exercise can reduce your feelings of anxiety, you can help manage your feelings by exercising daily.

Give in to exercise and improve your feelings.

The list of reasons you may not want to exercise can be endless. It’s even harder in January when you see brands leveraging body beautiful imagery in their messaging and advertising to get you to buy their products. These cover models get paid to look like that and are often photo-shopped to the moon and back so we shouldn’t set our expectations that high. Not achieving our goals is one of the biggest reasons we give up and stop going to the gym. When we start a new exercise regime, we try to follow one set by one of our role models. Instead of always focusing on exercise for aesthetics, we should exercise to feel better within ourselves. Getting 30 minutes of exercise in daily as a goal is much more attainable than getting a “6 pack in 6 weeks”! If continued for 66 days, scientists have shown that we will form a new habit out of exercising. By April you will have another way to deal with and help manage your feelings and if you can move away from the mentality of exercising solely to lose weight, you will have much better success long term.

The Personal Part: 

Richard Taylor is a Mental Health Blogger and Vlogger for RichBiscuit.com. He has suffered with OCD and Depression for many years, and openly speaks about his experiences on his blog and social media. He has just recently appeared in a documentary on Channel 5 ‘My Mental Illness and Me’ and was appointed the Youth Chairman for the OCD Action panel.

“When you live with a mental illness, performing regular tasks can be very tough and motivating yourself to exercise daily can be even harder to do. It’s even more complicated when one of your mental illnesses physically alters how you approach said exercise. I have OCD and Depression and although exercising is in no way a miracle cure at all, it does offer a slight reprieve from the feelings of total hopelessness that can accompany my mental illnesses. I first found the benefits of exercising and eating healthily after discovering Joe Wicks, The Body Coach and his #LeanIn15 videos on Instagram. I was hooked on his enthusiasm and positivity and it was easy to follow his YouTube videos.

I’ll admit that it was hard at first to keep up with the intensity of his workouts but I eventually found my own rhythm and started to notice changes. I was able to exercise for longer and push myself harder each day and I could see my body physically changing and becoming fitter. However, exercising not only had a positive effect on me physically but mentally I was less susceptible to negative moods and getting into a slump. I always used to argue that exercising would do nothing for my mental health but I’ll be the first to encourage someone to take up some form of daily exercise now. And okay, some days I let it slide and give myself a break but that’s totally okay! It shouldn’t be something you feel you have to do every single day, you know what’s best for you! But I would say that introducing exercise into your life and having a positive attitude about it whilst giving it a real chance can definitely help to improve not just your physical wellbeing, but your mental health as well”

 


DAN’S LINKS
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dansmull
blogging over at Bloke.ie

RICHARD’S LINKS
Twitter/Facebook Page - @richbiscuit21
Website - www.richbiscuit.com
YouTube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU_Ghh82-HycWt1V3MCTuDg



References;

[http://www.samaritans.org/about-us/our-research/facts-and-figures-about-suicide]

[http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_351100.pdf]

[http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-week-your-new-years-resolution-to-exercise-dies-1421703411]

[http://www.ihrsa.org/blog/2016/10/17/health-club-member-retention-is-a-team-effort.html]

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/]

[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23548985]

[http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.674/abstract]

The Good Guru Blog is a place for opinions. These opinions belong to the author and are not necessarily shared by The Good Guru.  

 



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