So you're back in the swing of things – It's January, you've kept up with your fitness and diet regime, and you're feeling great. Or – you haven't, and you're feeling down. But there's good news, the thing about exercise is, there are far more benefits to your health than just the physical!
If you are struggling this New Year, it is worth considering the concept of momentum. That first run, first workout, it's always harder than the second.
What's interesting is that your self-esteem increases with physical activity. And when self-esteem is higher, you have more motivation to train. It's an ongoing positive cycle! There is science to this. Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit greatly from a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression. Exercise is proven to make you feel good – and when something makes you feel good, you want to do it more!
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, these little guys trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a very positive outlook on life.
According to WebMD, Regular exercise has been proven to:
*Ward off anxiety and depression
And some research has even shown that exercise is effective, but often the underused treatment for mild to moderate depression! That's incredible.
As someone who hates running, my goal this year was to spend more time outside. As I have run increasingly longer distances, I find my mood increases dramatically for the rest of the day, and I feel better and better about myself and the day ahead, the further I run.
My advice here is a simple as could be, it doesn't matter if you can only muster up ten or twenty minutes of low-intensity exercise, it will not only boost your mood, it will provide the addictive feeling needed to go out there and do it all again next time! Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is fitness, but you can increase your confidence and motivation in a single workout.
For those who think “runner's high” is nonsense, seriously, try it for yourself!
Words and Imagery: Harvey Gibson
Model: Patrick Taylor
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