Physical wellbeing not only boosts our bodies, but our minds, moods and sleep as well.
While we all acknowledge the benefits of physical activity on overall health, it also has an important role to play in improving mood, energy levels and sleep patterns.
During exercise the brain floods feel-good chemicals, known as endorphins throughout the body.
Consequently, regular physical activity can help to reduce anxiety and depression, along with enhancing our self-esteem.
Despite these benefits, many of us feel we do not have the time or energy to embark on an exercise regime.
To help combat this, try to think of physical activity not as ‘exercise’ but as a ‘wellbeing’ session.
Initially, think about simple ways in which you can increase your activity levels. These could include:
• walking/cycling to work/town or at least part of the way
• playing outdoor games with the family
• taking the stairs and not the lift
• stretching and toning while watching TV
What to Choose?
For more structured exercise, it’s important to find something that will suit and motivate you personally. Consider the following:
• do you prefer to exercise alone or with others?
• do you prefer to be outside or indoors?
• do you want to improve your ability, compete or simply have fun?
• do you prefer an instructor and organised class or prefer to work out at home?
• do you prefer calming activities or those which raise the heartbeat?
Developing a Wellbeing Repertoire
As always, listen to what your body is telling you.
It might be that your preferences change over time and so it’s a good idea to develop a repertoire of activities to suit your mood and the time you have available.
Try a range of different activities that you feel will appeal to you. Eventually, you will find the ones that you enjoy and can build into your weekly schedule.
Just as valuable as getting hot and sweaty is making time to rest, relax and recharge our batteries.
When our minds are buzzing with tasks to complete, negative chatter and general stress, it is important to learn to switch off this background noise.
Physical activity, such as yoga, is particularly good for this, but so too are hobbies.
In our busy lives, hobbies are often neglected but they are a great way to switch off and relax.
Any activity that absorbs you and allows you to lose yourself for a few hours will do you the power of good. For example, try painting, drawing, jigsaws, knitting, sewing, making music or safely spending time with friends.
Do not feel guilty about taking this time for yourself because it will improve your overall levels of wellbeing and help you deal with life’s challenges, especially in the current climate.