Monday, 13 June 2016

Exercise and 'The Feeling Good Effect'

As my phone chimed an email notification, I shuddered as I read the words, '6 weeks to go.' How did the Race For Life come around so quickly? For weeks months, I have been putting off exercise and comfort eating, blaming it on the stress of my degree... I no longer have this excuse and am free for the Summer. Why. I have been saying to myself that I'm going to join the gym for so long, why do I keep putting it off? Money, to be frank. I don't want to pay so much for something that I could do at home. So why don't I get off my arse and jump on the exercise bike? There's just no motivation. At. All.

Binge-watching Sex On The City (even right now, as I write this post) is a habit that I must start whilst being on the exercise bike, or doing a pilates video on YouTube. One of the main reasons I signed up for Race For Life was to raise money for the charity, to give myself a target and lastly, to introduce exercise into my everyday life. Exercise is so good for you, not only will it make you look fantastic, it will make you feel like a Victoria Secret model.

Exercise improves your mood, confidence, stress level and your way of thinking - something I need. This has become my motivation. This year of university has tested me, as well as, getting a new job and fitting into new social groups, my head is spiraling. I'm hoping that hopping onto the exercise bike, doing a pilates class, going for a swim or a walk down the seafront will make me feel like myself again.

Here's a quote from a study into exercise and mental health:
Evidence is convincing that exercise can be useful in treating and avoiding depressive illnesses, and can be used as a means of reducing stress and anxiety on a daily basis. In addition, there is sufficient evidence to show that single bouts of activity can improve mood and sleep quality and that people who are more active are much more likely to rate themselves and their sense of mental well-being more positively. The feeling good effect of exercise therefore seems to be substantiated by research. In addition, regular exercise appears to offer a vehicle for more deep-seated change through improvements in the way we view our physical selves, and this has potential to generalize to higher self-esteem and identity change. Any negative mental effects from exercise seem to affect only a small percentage of participants. - Dr Kenneth R. Fox, 1999, The influence of physical activity on mental well-being.
Reading that study, it puts into perspective how amazing exercise is for your brain. The feeling good effect is something that everyone can appreciate.

Have you ever completed a run for a charity/organisation? How did you get on?
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