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  • Writer's pictureDr Joanne Stuart

Exercise and Stress

Exercise and Stress

The link between exercise and improved mood, concentration, health and wellbeing is strong, clear and consistent.


  • Exercise increases bodies production of endorphins

  • Exercise clears the mind of repetitive thoughts and worries

  • Exercise raises your mood

  • Exercises improves the quality of your sleep


Exercise provides a productive, effective activity which is often lacking in other environments. It facilitates social engagement and structures free time.


There is evidence that exercise boosts the brains ability to deal with stress and heightened emotions.


Since exercise is so effective why is it that it is so difficult to stick with? One reason may be that there are so many pulls on our time and attention. We are motivated to exercise but our concentration and attention is often pulled in other directions.


How to motivate yourself to exercise:

Think of yourself as having lots of motivations rather than having one pot of motivation which runs to empty by the end of the day.


You might be motivated to go to the gym, to watch the television, to eat dinner and to look online for a new car.


One way to use this conception of motivation is to ensure the behaviour you would like to increase becomes the behaviour you are most reminded about. So, if you see your trainers in the hallway as you get home you would more likely be motivated to go to the gym than if you were to enter the sitting room and see the tv.


Another strategy is to link a big motivator (catching up on an audiobook) with something less motivating (going for a run). The important thing is to limit listening to an audiobook to the gym so that you have to go to find out what happened next….


Routine.  If Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday all become associated with some form of exercise then you are reminded of your intention and other activities are less likely to sideline exercise.


If you’re motivated by socialising, aim for a sport such as tennis, squash or badminton. Arrange to exercise with a friend.


And finally…..

Don’t be overambitious. Aim for small regular doses rather than overdoing it less often.


If you are new to exercise go for low impact exercise initially. High impact exercise, which causes discomfort, is linked to exercise drop out when you begin exercising.


There are some great online exercises classes available. Combine these with going to the gym to help you stay interested.


Don’t forget walking. Walking to work once a week can be recuperative and strengthening.


Finally for a doubly effective boost to your mood and mental strength, exercise outside. Mountain biking, open air football, jogging on the Heath all provide dual benefits.

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