ChristyAnn.Fit – an online fitness coach and physiotherapist – shares her exercise guidelines to improve your mental and physical health in time for summer.
Spring has sprung – and as we say goodbye to winter woollies, many of us can’t wait to embrace the warmer months. There’s only one drawback: most of us want to lose a few winter kilos and tone up our bodies.
And with October being Mental Health Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is the time to adopt a better eating plan combined with an exercise regime. The good news is that other than the effect exercise has on toning your body and losing weight, numerous studies confirm that regular exercise can have an astounding effect on one’s health in general.
Did you know that the risk of developing breast cancer – and breast cancer relapsing – is decreased by 50% if you do moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, five times a week? That’s a small price to pay for a healthier body and life, so if necessary check with your doctor or physio what exercises are suitable for you.
The benefits of exercise are numerous. Exercise decreases stress, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue and many other mental health conditions. This is because exercise releases endorphins, serotonin and a neurotrophin into the brain which in turn encourages neuron growth.
Exercise also decreases neuro-inflammation which has been found to be connected to a number of mental health conditions like depression.
Exercise improves work performance and mental capacity. “Brain derived neurotrophic factor” is a protein in the brain that increases from regular exercise, and in turn can cause an increase in the volume of the brain’s hippocampus which is important for memory and cognition.
The bottom line is, the more you exercise, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the more you want to exercise. However, without a training programme and plan, we are less likely to reach our goals.
To get you started towards losing some weight and toning up winter flab, here are my five tried and trusted guidelines:
1. Make a commitment. Get yourself an accountability partner or join an exercise group. It’s harder to skip a day if you have someone waiting for you.
2. Diarise your sessions and set an alarm. When other things come up (which might be more fun), you are tempted to delete the entry. However, if it’s “booked” into your daily schedule, there’s less temptation. By deleting your entry, you are literally deleting “health” out of your diary.
3. Set attainable goals for your physical activity. As a guideline for your goals, you are encouraged to do moderately-intense exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for five or more days a week – just make sure your exercise adds up to 150 minutes a week (according to the World Health Organization). Moderate exercise means you are able to talk while exercising, but you’re too out-of-breath to sing. It is good to start at a low-to-moderate intensity, and then build up over time. Strength training is also important to work into your sessions.
4. Choose exercise for your personality type and have fun. You need to choose the form of exercise you most enjoy. Some people don’t enjoy exercise in general, but choosing their preferred type of exercise is more sustainable in the long run. Whether it be outdoors, body weight exercise at home, with or without equipment, at gym or part of an exercise class, make sure your heart rate increases for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
5. Don’t separate exercise from healthy self-talk and eating. Your belief system and diet play an extremely important role in your health and fitness journey. For success, one needs to “Believe” (think right), “Move” (exercise right) and “Nourish” (eat right). An important point that I stand by.
FOR MORE INFO
Find out more about my online workouts, which are formulated to meet the above guidelines, as well as my 12-week fitness and lifestyle spring challenge which includes workout, eating plan and more. Go to www.christyann.fit.