– There is an ever increasing stack of evidence that suggests exercise is more effective than anti-depressant tablets at beating depression and it makes perfect sense.
Believe it or not, stress has always had a very useful function in humans and many other animals for that matter. Imagine you’re minding your own business, only to realize you’re being stalked by a powerful predator with exceptionally large and pointy teeth. Your heart rate rapidly elevates, your senses and perception heighten, and blood flow increases to the muscles prioritizing power, speed and strength over all of your bodily functions. This is what we call ‘fight or flight’, your body is giving you the best chance of survival by inducing acute stress. The stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are being pumped around the body while peak physical performance is underway in the battle for survival. Once you are safe , the acute stress subsides and the stress hormones, tiny chemical messengers, settle down but only after a bout of intense exercise.
In today’s world we marvel at the advancements in technology which have enabled a more productive civilization, however these advancements have come at a cost: chronic stress, often leading to anxiety and depression. Chronic stress, a different beast to acute stress, is one of the biggest risk factors today for both your physical and mental health as well as the buildup of visceral fat (stubborn belly fat), problems in these areas develop as a result of too frequent acute stress. With nearly a third of the UK’s population suffering from depression and many more contending with anxiety and stress related health problems, there’s certainly cause to look deeper into how these problems can be prevented. Most people in our western world aren’t concerned with being eaten by some beast anymore, they are however worrying about everyday factors that are a part of civilized life. These constant worries and concerns, whether it is your job, your personal relationships, family bereavements or your finances, can often develop into chronic stress if not managed correctly.
So with that in mind here are our top three solutions to deal with chronic stress creating a much happier headspace, staving off the shadow of depression, anxiety and chronic stress health problems:
1) Exercise – either intense 3 times a week or moderate/ easier exercise 5-6 times a week
2) Meditation – The more the better, from once a week to every day.
3) Relationships with friends and family – Forming and maintaining personal relationships where you can talk, be heard and listen to others creates a strong bond. Research suggests this is probably just as powerful for both your mental and physical health as regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Call us at Altered Images gym and spa in Bromsgrove on 01527 874395 to find out more about our facilities and how we can help you reach your 2019 fitness goals.