Ex­er­cis­ing helps give you a boost

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LISA MANSELL

Many of us find it hard enough to mo­ti­vate our­selves to ex­er­cise at the best of times, and a cold win­ter can leave us with the blues as well.

When we feel de­pressed, anx­ious, stressed or have other men­tal or emo­tional prob­lems, it can be all the more dif­fi­cult.

This is es­pe­cially true of de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, and it can leave you feel­ing trapped in a catch-22 sit­u­a­tion.

You know ex­er­cise will make you feel bet­ter, but de­pres­sion has robbed you of the en­ergy and mo­ti­va­tion you need to ex­er­cise, or your so­cial anx­i­ety means you can’t bear the thought of be­ing seen at an ex­er­cise class or walk­ing the streets.

So what should you do? Start small. When you’re un­der the cloud of an emo­tional dis­or­der and haven’t ex­er­cised for a long time, set­ting your­self ex­trav­a­gant goals like com­plet­ing a marathon or work­ing out for an hour ev­ery morn­ing will only leave you more de­spon­dent if you fall short.

Bet­ter to set your­self achiev­able goals and build up from there.

Fo­cus on ac­tiv­i­ties you en­joy. Any ac­tiv­ity that gets you mov­ing counts.

That could in­clude throw­ing a Fris­bee with a dog or friend, walk­ing laps of a mall win­dow shop­ping, or cycling to the gro­cery store.

If you’ve never ex­er­cised be­fore or don’t know what you might en­joy, try a few dif­fer­ent things.

Ac­tiv­i­ties such as gar­den­ing or tack­ling a home im­prove­ment project can be great ways to start mov­ing more when you have a mood dis­or­der—as well as help­ing you be­come more ac­tive, they can also leave you with a sense of pur­pose and ac­com­plish­ment.

Even a short 15-minute walk can help clear your mind, im­prove your mood, and boost your en­ergy level.

As you move and start to feel a lit­tle bet­ter, you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence a greater sense of con­trol over your well-be­ing.

Re­ward your­self. Part of the re­ward of com­plet­ing an ac­tiv­ity is how much bet­ter you’ll feel af­ter­wards, but it al­ways helps your mo­ti­va­tion to prom­ise your­self an ex­tra treat for ex­er­cis­ing.

Re­ward your­self with a hot bub­ble bath af­ter a work­out, a de­li­cious smoothie, or with an ex­tra episode of your favourite TV show.

Make ex­er­cise a so­cial ac­tiv­ity. Ex­er­cis­ing with a friend or loved one, or even your kids will not only make ex­er­cis­ing more fun and en­joy­able, it can also help to mo­ti­vate you to stick to a work­out rou­tine.

And fi­nally, hav­ing whanau, friends and pos­i­tive sup­port­ing peo­ple around you any­ways helps.

For more in­for­ma­tion on ex­er­cises groups, classes and ac­tiv­i­ties check out the Sport Waikato web­site and click on ‘Be Ac­tive’ link.

* Lisa is the South Waikato District Co­or­di­na­tor for Sports Waikato.

A lit­tle bit of ex­er­cise can do won­ders for your mood.

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