Fitness has always been my escape. From the age of 9 I began competitive swimming, training up to seven times a week, usually for two hours per session and consequently often went to school stinking of chlorine. I came from a family of swimmers, so athletics, team sports and activities came fairly natural to me. Throughout my GCSE’s I never realised how exercise was benefiting me emotionally. Now I reflect on how swimming helped me destress and calm my anxieties – unless we are talking about competing because that was a completely different situation!
Whilst studying my A-Levels, I quit competitive swimming and no longer took part in team sports. I started to feel a bit lost, and my stress and anxiety levels began to become overwhelming. It wasn’t until I began University at Loughborough, gym junkies galore. I got back into the swing of going to the gym 2-3 times a week and found it had a dramatic effect on my emotional state. Uni was also where I found my love for yoga. Whilst working long days at the library, I started yoga in the midst of deadlines, my body was craving it’s relaxation benefits.
Many people told me that practicing yoga helped them sleep. I was having a few issues and struggled to get any shut eye, so with that in mind I would let my thoughts wonder in the gym. I enjoyed having a clearer mind to think about situations and problem solve, it reminded me of when I used to swim laps up and down the pool. Practicing yoga is a whole different situation. I don’t think at all, and my mind has a well deserved break, often helping me to reboot and clear my head from anything stressing me out or getting me down.
Yes, exercise is somewhat a distraction for me. However, it has so many added benefits that make me feel calmer, happier and all together a more well-rounded person. In the past year it has especially helped me through so emotionally tough situations, helping me grow stronger on the inside and out. But its benefits on mental health are beneficial to everybody.
How Exercise Can Make You Feel Good
It increases norepinephrine
This is a chemical that boosts your serotonin levels (happy endorphins). Often those that suffer from depression or anxiety take on a sport or some form of exercise as it naturally increases their happy levels It can boost your physical confidence.
Improves your fitness
Obviously the effect of exercise means your body will be in a fitter form, making many feel more confident and proud of themselves It can send you into a state of zen and calm.
Those who exercise are more likely to experience relaxation after, due to the increase and then steep decrease of the body’s temperature – when i’m having a hard time and can’t sleep I often bang out a hard gym session, it knackers me out, helping me to get a better night’s sleep.
Build new relationships
Joining a team or even getting to know those at your gym can help you become happier and build new relationships. So whether you’ve gone through a tough break-up, lost someone close to you, work is getting you down, or you’re dealing with some tough life decisions, finding your zen, whether its joining a netball team, tennis club, the football team at work or getting your bum down to the gym, push yourself to make that first step and I promise you, you’ll be feeling the benefits instantly.
Kristy Robertson is a lifestyle blogger and editorial assistant for DIARY Directory, bringing you the latest industry news and social channels buzzing. Fashion, beauty, fitness and food are many other passions that Kristy shares on her blog, In The Life Of Blog. Keep up to date with her latest reviews and day-to-day life experiences by following her blog, Instagram.
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