Articles > Living with anxiety - 10 top tips: #10
Living with anxiety - 10 top tips: #10
10: Exercise regularly
Exercise is free and you don't need your GP to prescribe it! It can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.
How much exercise you need depends on your age. For more information visit the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/
Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
"If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented," says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.
To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.
For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can't sing the words to a song.
If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it's vigorous activity because you're breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
Serotonin and dopamine are chemicals produced in the brain -- neurotransmitters -- that improve mood and protect against mental health disorders. Serotonin, which is produced by long-term cardio exercise, decreases depression and hostility, and improves agreeable social behavior. Dopamine improves your mood and long-term memory. It stimulates highly pleasurable feelings in the brain and could contribute to what is called "runners' high."
So, it would seem like an open-and-shut case in favour of exercise. So no more excuses! Start with a few minutes each day... why not set a reminder on your phone so you don't forget!
If you think you might prefer some one-to-one help with any issues you might be facing, the best place to find a qualified, reputable therapist is on the BACP website here: https://www.bacp.co.uk/about-therapy/how-to-find-a-therapist/.
Or, if you're close enough to Alsager you might like to click here to make a booking with me.
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