Lockdown 2.0 – a point in time where gyms, running clubs and other fitness related activities are closed, yet the likes of McDonalds and Burger King can stay open….
As a sports nutritionist this does get under my skin, but we must be grateful for what we have and always look to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Mental health is something that we tend not to touch on a lot, that is up until now. I’m not going to sugar coat it – the impact COVID-19 is having on people's lives and especially their mental health is something that can't go unnoticed. New research found that there was a three-fold increase in the number of people reporting clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression during lockdown – reaching 52%.
Although this number is extremely high. Below I will explain ways in which we can ACTIVELY reduce it, even when we are confined to the four walls of our homes.
Studies have shown that regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression & anxiety. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic or run a marathon to notice the positive impact of exercise on your mental health.
Exercise is not just about muscle size or being the best of the best. Exercise comes in all shapes and sizes, and even the smallest bouts can make a huge difference to your wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
Whilst most people understand the benefits of exercise on physical health and longevity, it also has a large role to play in maintaining and supporting mental health. This is, sometimes, the main reason why people regularly exercise – the enormous sense of well-being exercise gives them. Not only does it give them more energy throughout the day or helps them sleep better at night, but it also makes them feel more positive about themselves and their lives. Even small bursts of 10-minute brisk walking has been proven to increase positive mood and mental alertness.
As a doctor once said: “Exercise is the most potent and underutilised antidepressant... and it's free!”
No wonder it was labelled a powerful natural remedy for many common mental health challenges!
It’s simple really. Exercise stimulates the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones. You exercise. You feel better. Repeat. Just like that.
Exercise, long or short, directly affects the brain. Regular exercise increases the volume of certain brain regions due to better blood supply which improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to these areas, which supports neurotrophic factors and neurohormones that support neuron signalling, growth, and connections.
It’s not just brain health, it’s also about gaining the confidence you need to make you feel better about yourselves. You meet your goals, you beat some challenges, you look better in your own clothes. It all plays a huge part in your self-esteem and the how you feel each day.
I think for me, another huge benefit of exercising each day is that it is a chance to just zone out. All the problems you may have that race through your mind tend to vanish once you start exercising. That bit of time each day to focus on yourself and to get better each day really helps your overall mental health – a lot more than you may think.
More and more health benefits that stem from regular exercise should be further emphasised and reinforced not just by fitness professional but also work employers.
- Improved sleep
- Increased interest in sex
- Better endurance
- Stress relief
- Improvement in mood
- Increased energy and stamina
- Reduced tiredness that can increase mental alertness
- Weight reduction
- Reduced cholesterol and improved cardiovascular fitness
My advice to you during this second lockdown, which will most likely be extended further into December, is to stay CONSISTENT. Motivation only gets you as far as starting, but consistency gets you all the way through. Pick a time each day to do your exercise. And I Don’t mean just a start time either. Choose precise timings to start and to finish and stick to it. This means you have to exercise up until that point as oppose to just starting then trailing off 5 minutes later.
How To Get Started
Create a new routine to form a new habit. Get used to exercising at the same time every day that it becomes embedded within your routine. Both your body and your brain will thank you for it.
Did you know hydration plays a huge role in both your physical health and your mental wellbeing. Countless research has linked dehydration to depression and anxiety, since mental health is driven primarily by your brain’s activity and dehydration slows this activity right down.
Dehydration not only saps your brain’s energy but also increases stress in your body which is a known physiological factor for depression. Obviously, dehydration isn’t causal for the likes of depression and anxiety, but hydration can optimise your brains activity, leading to a clearer mental state and overall wellbeing.
Here at Totum Sport we offer the leading-edge electrolyte solution to optimise complete hydration to have you feeling your best once again. Totum Sport is the only effective hydration solution that contains all essential 78 electrolytes, in perfect proportions, that your cells need to actually absorb and utilise water.
Hydration is more important than you think and it is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Hope you are all coping through this tough time, and remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s unfortunate that this happened. No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I have remained unharmed by it – not shattered by the present or frightened of the future.”