Castle Personal Training is a Corstorphine, Edinburgh based company who specialise in weightloss/toning and Pre and Post Natal exercise.
I think we’ve all heard about the benefits of exercise and nutrition when it comes to stress, and mental health, but we can all do with a reminder every now and again.
We all lead busy lives, yes even Personal Trainers do. You have your boss breathing down your neck or asking you to stay late, you have kids that need to be driven around, you have a family that needs to be fed, you have house-work to do, your car needs to go in for a service and sometimes it can get to be a bit much.
It’s easy to think that you don’t have the time to cook or exercise. All you want is a bit of piece and quiet at the end of the day, some time to yourself, maybe use a few minutes to read a book or watch a bit of telly. But, rather than just getting a bit of time once a day, wouldn’t it be better if you just weren’t as stressed out and really felt better the whole day? Well, unsurprisingly, Exercise and Healthy eating are the way to go. I will address the benefits of both briefly.
We all think of the physical benefits we get when we think about exercise but sometimes forget that the psychological benefits are amazing.
Studies show that regular exercise leads to people being able to cope with stressful situations better.
When you are stressed the body starts to release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol is a very important hormone, it does loads of good stuff such as giving you an additional burst of energy when your life is under threat, but you need “normal” levels to return after a stressful event has passed.
Think about it this way; It’s great when you have a lot of Cortisol running through your body when you’re being attacked by a tiger as you’ll able to run away a bit faster. But you don’t always want to feel like you could be mauled by a tiger at any minute. Unfortunately, with all the stresses we have in our lives these days, we don’t always get the chance to have our cortisol levels drop to our “normal” level.
Exercise will help the Cortisol levels drop and it releases endorphins which combined gives you what is sometimes described as a “runner’s high“. This won’t last for days, so you have to exercise several times a week, but you will find that exercising regularly will make your head clearer, will allow you to make better decisions and will allow you to deal better with situations that would otherwise stress you out (such as the boss asking you to do the impossible).
We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. The basic sentiment of this is of course correct.
Again, when we think of healthy eating we think of the physical benefits; Losing weight, looking better, having better skin, more energy, less risk of a heart attack or a stroke, not having Type 2 Diabetes…quite a few benefits really.
But we ignore the psychological benefits when thinking of a healthy diet. People with a poor diet don’t just feel lethargic, mentally it’s much more difficult to deal with things and that Mars bar starts to look pretty good when you feel like crap.
How much better would it be though if you didn’t feel stressed/ fed up as often? Complex Carbohydrates (Brown bread, brown rice, vegetables etc) help increase the amount of serotonin in your brain. This wonderful little hormone lifts you into a better mood, relaxes you and helps you sleep. And we all know what sleep does to help us cope with stress.
Protein-rich foods help maintain your blood-sugar level and helps you feel “fuller for longer”. This will stop you for reaching for the mars bars.
Essential Fats such as Omega 3 and 6, which can only be found in our food, promote the intake of other nutrients (Vitamins, A,D,E, K) and allows waste products to get out of the body more effectively. There are even studies that show that Omega-3 helps with mild depression.
All in all, it just shows that exercise and the right nutrition are essential to feeling better, as well as looking better.
Eating properly and exercising regularly won’t make your boss less demanding, it won’t stop your kids screaming and being difficult (though having them exercise and eating properly will make them behave better), it won’t fix your car, but it will make all those things easier to deal with and help you get a good nights sleep.
Obviously it takes a bit of effort to take the first step but, trust me, it’s a step worth taking.