How exercise can reduce anxiety and depression
by Sarah Ashe We all have different goals when it comes to fitness. Some of us exercise because we want to look better, to create the perfect summer body or shed some pounds for a special...
Posted 10 October 2022
Modern life is busy. From work commitments to social events to kids’ demands to exercise classes; we’re always on the go.
We don’t always have the luxury to stop and rest when we feel fatigued, to curl up in bed when we feel sad, to not make the kid’s dinner when we’re stressed after a full day at the office! Life doesn’t work like that, we have to keep up.
But what if you could adapt your exercise schedule to truly fit in with your mood and your energy levels?
In this article, we explore how to use exercise as a tool to enhance and support your changing mood, energy and body, rather than throwing yourself into a regime that isn’t right for you.
It might sound strange but every morning, take a moment while you brush your teeth or take a shower or make your breakfast to really tune into your body.
Ground your feet into the floor, take some deep breaths and mentally answer these questions:
The key is to use the answers to shape your exercise plans for that day!
Perhaps you’re a keen runner, or a gym bunny or a Pilates fanatic. This might be all you know, and that’s OK!
We’re suggesting that you dip your toe into other modes of exercise that might better compliment your mood and energy. Why not join a few classes that you wouldn’t normally attend? See how they suit your body and notice how they make you feel afterwards. You’ll slowly build up a ‘toolbox’ of options that you can utilise as your energy and mood fluctuate.
Find a gym or studio or online platform that has different workout options. Look for one that has your favourite workout on the timetable, but some other options too.
Finding a gym that feels right to you is also really important – you want that space to be welcoming, supportive and inspiring.
Finding good teachers is also key – don’t be afraid to speak to your instructors, mention that you’re trying to marry your workouts to your busy life – they’ll love the challenge and will probably do their best to help you.
Booked into a 5.30am spin class but feeling under the weather the day before? Planned to attend an evening HIIT class but feeling really stressed? It’s OK to change your schedule, swap spin for a lie in, and HIIT for yoga, and you’ll likely walk away feeling better.
Just be aware of late cancellation fees!
To fully track how you’re doing why not start a journal? You can document how you’re feeling each day, what exercise you did (or didn’t) do, and how that made you feel.
Looking back on this might help you shape your days with more ease and clarity.
Now, it’s easy to use your mood and energy as an excuse not to exercise. This isn’t what we’re encouraging!
It’s always a good idea to find space for wellness, movement, meditation or workouts in your week. The trick is to adapt what you do to better suit how you’re feeling. One week you might go on a run and do a Pilates class. The next week you might meditate and go to Yin yoga. The week after might be all about cardio classes.
Mix it up and enjoy the rewards!
It’s easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of life – don’t let exercise propel you on this course. Allow it to support you, make you feel better and bring you back down to earth.
Try following some of the steps above and see what changes for you.