By Naseerah Nanabhai
The past year and a half have been tough on all of us; through lockdowns, not seeing friends and family and losing loved ones, depression and anxiety has affected most of us. While looking for ways to cope and uplift our spirits, exercise and movement seem to be top of the list.
Exercise is proven to have a tremendous impact on mood upliftment and joy, with research reporting that people experienced higher levels of enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem together with reduced tension and fatigue after just a short walk.
Exercise increases serotonin, which helps regulate mood, sleep and appetite, thereby reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also helps limit stress on the brain and can help provide a feeling of accomplishment.
The positive effects of exercise on mood relate to strength training and can also be achieved through simple activities like walking, cycling, or running. More significant benefits are achieved when exercising outdoors, such as reduced screen time, soaking up vitamin D, fresh air and increasing natural light exposure.
Besides mood upliftment, other advantages of exercising and movement include boosting energy, combating health conditions, weight control and better sleep. For most adults, the recommended length of weekly exercise is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.
Like everything in life, achieving the benefits of exercise starts with the first move. Ultimately, it’s up to you to put a new – and well-earned – spring in your step.