We hear it all the time ‘healthy body, healthy mind’. When I was first diagnosed with Depression about 15years ago, all of the doctors were asking me if I do enough exercise because after all, regular exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve our mood. Any kind of physical activity is extremely good for our mental wellbeing.
According to the mental health charity Mind, there are many studies which have shown that doing physical activity can improve mental health. For example, it can help with:
- better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day
- happier moods – physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy
- managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts – doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times
- better self-esteem – being more active can make you feel better about yourself as you improve and meet your goals
reducing the risk of depression – studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression
connecting with people – doing group or team activities can help you meet new and like-minded people, and make new friends.
I’ve always been a big fan of swimming and walking. Those are probably my favourite activities. However I am partial to a great Spin Class with pumping music and plenty of sweat hahaha! Last week though I was introduced to Reformer Pilates. Pilates I’ve obviously heard of, but ‘reformer’ pilate’s was a whole new concept to me. As much as I’ve wanted to try my hand at Yoga and Pilate’s because i’ve heard of all of the amazing benefits, i’ve never done a class in either.
The Pilates Reformer is an exercise machine used to incorporate the Pilates exercise technique for a challenging and intense workout. It’s a very high tech piece of equipment, and these classes have become increasingly popular and I now understand why. I went along to the Chiswick Riverside Virgin Active Club to experience my first ever Reformer Pilates class AND to admire their BRAND NEW studio which is said to be the largest in the world with 26 beds!!! Next door they also have a new stylish and ultra modern Hot Yoga studio 😉 My hour of reformer was incredibly calming, as well as being quite an intense body workout. The bed’s sliding platform helps you stretch into new positions, toning your whole body especially your core. Pullies and springs give resistance to work your muscles and joints. It was thoroughly enjoyable and the pain I was in for the next couple of days was 100% worth it!
In recent weeks my depression and anxiety have been pushed to the limits and so I’ve made a very conscious decision to UP MY GAME with my fitness in order to get back on track with my healthy mind, healthy body. I’m now a new Virgin Active Club member and a Reformer Pilate’s convert, so spend every morning at 7am logging into my app to try and book myself into the classes promptly because the spaces get filled up at an insane rate!
I plan on spending the next few months doing regular exercise to help boost my mood because I know that winter really does have a massive effect on me. The darker days and nights really take their toll and I often fall into a slump what with the lack of natural sunlight. SAD is so common in the winter months, so it’s incredibly important we take stock and try to do things to combat it. Physical activity is essential for our mental health and as a mother, what good am I to my family if I let my depression get the better of me, or my anxieties get out of hand. I have to look after number one, so that I can be the very best version of me, and that starts with a commitment to exercise and not coming up with excuses not to do it.
Visit the Virgin Active website HERE to find your nearest club and classes.
by Laura x