How Exercise can impact your Mental Health

Exercise can be great for your muscles, but did you know it is just as important for your mind?

As little as 30 minutes of exercise per day has been shown to improve the "mental fog" and help to keep you fit and feeling your best.

To make the most of your health, half-an-hour per day is recommended, which can be achieved through a healthy and committed approach to your exercise routine.

Exercising and Stress

Leading a stressful work and personal life can trigger the body's 'fight or flight' response. When we are experiencing stress, hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, causing the heart rate, metabolism and breathing rate to speed up. This is a normal coping mechanism for short-term situations but if the stress response goes on for too long, it can have damaging effects on the mind and body. [1]

However, there is a simple approach - getting regular exercise! We feel better after exercising, due to the chemical release of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, which can lead you to an improved, more stabilised mood. 

And when it comes to exercise, a little goes a long way. Not only has regular exercise been proven to aid in managing stress, improving mood and sleep, it can also help reduce the risk of illnesses in the longterm, such as  heart and lung diseasehigh blood pressurediabetesobesity and even cancer. [2]

Exercise, a no-brainer

According to Exercise and Sports Science Australia, recent research shows that physical activity can protect against developing future mental disorders. A recent study in The American Journal of Psychiatry has found "physical activity can protect against the emergence of depression."

The study found that exercise and physical activity decreased the odds against people developing depression by 17%.[3]

By simply committing to at least 30 minutes of exercise and physical activity most days of the week, your mind and body will benefit greatly.

Keep your Mind and Body on Top

One of the best ways to stay on top of your mental health and well-being, and to fit regular exercise into your daily routine, is to join a group fitness program. Active Pilates is a fantastic way to fit in an all-body workout, led by qualified and experienced instructors who can help you to become the healthiest version of yourself. 

With classes ranging from beginner to intermediate, Active Pilates offers something for everyone, with a range of pricing options and class times to suit your lifestyle.

Get fitness on your mind and find an Active Pilates class that is right for you.

 

 


 

Resources:

[1]https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/stress

[2] https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/exercise-and-mental-health

[3] https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2018.17111194

 

Six reasons why you need a Weekend Retreat

You deserve to take a little time to yourself.

In our busy, modern lifestyles, we tend to rush through the week, packing in our daily schedules. Balancing family time, work, workouts and our well-being is a challenge, and now may be the perfect time to rest and replenish.

Finding a moment to de-stress and unwind is the secret to nourishing your soul and living a fuller, happier, more energised life. One of the best ways to find your peace, even in the fast pace, is through a weekend retreat.

Often featuring inspirational health and wellness leaders, a little bit of movement, delicious food and lots of rest time, retreats offer a unique experience for us to slow down, learn better tools to reinforcing our health, and they're always full of fun.

Not convinced you have the time?

We've put together six reasons why you need to get yourself to a weekend retreat:
 

1. You'll be surrounded by like-minded people
Surround yourself with other people who are also looking for a little break. Whether it's to find work-life balance, learn more about different health practices, healthy recipe ideas or just to spend a weekend in peace, you're guaranteed to meet people who are also there to relax, and you may even make a new, unexpected friend.

2. Women love stories; not only telling them but listening to them too
Retreats are an amazing way to connect with people. There is something special about women coming together, sharing their stories - and everyone has their own story to tell. As women, we love connecting, a practice which dates back centuries and across many different cultures. Retreat are the perfect opportunity to stop, and take the time to hear someone else's story, while reflecting on yours.

Photo by LittleBee80/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by LittleBee80/iStock / Getty Images

3. Take a break and connect with your inner-self
Don't forget to breath. It's something so fundamental, but in the stress of life we forget that sometimes all we need to relax, is a nice deep breath. Retreats give you a space to deeply relax and unwind from your normal weekly routine. Even if it's just for a couple of days, weekend retreats help offer some time and space for you to check in with yourself and make sure you are living your fullest life.

4. Reconnect with your joy
Be playful. Retreats are a non-judgmental space where you can have the freedom to explore your sense of joy in a fun, safe environment. It's easy to slip away from our child-like playfullness, but retreats are a great way to reconnect with your sense of wonder. Wake up each day, in touch with that joy and wonder of life. 

5. Revitalise your relationship with yourself, and people around you  
By taking the time to reconnect with ourselves, and fill up our cup, we can then pour into our relationships. Take the time to refresh your relationship with yourself first. Check in to see how you are feeling and what you need to feel energised, empowered and loved. This is a key benefit of attending a retreat, a space where you can check your reflection and spend time alone.

6. Enjoy "Me Time" without feeling guilty
You deserve to take time for yourself. By dedicating a weekend to just you, everyone around you will feel the positive flow-on effects. Nurture yourself with some much-needed "Me Time" and say "yes!" to re-connection, rest and vitality.

And it doesn’t need to cost the earth. We’ve sourced a fabulous two-day "Thelma & Louise" weekend retreat that’s affordable, fun and filled with health and wellness tools guaranteed to refresh you.

Featuring a weekend of movement, connection, self-expression, exploration, reflection and rejuvenation, this women's retreat will take you on a unique journey of self discovery.

Need the getaway? Take a look at this upcoming Health and Wellness retreat in Dongara.

Your Gluteus are more important than you think

When it comes to strengthening and conditioning the gluteus are an often overlooked area of the body. There is a lot of emphasis placed upon the core and core strengthening for fitness and rehabilitation – but your gluteus play an important role too.

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Gluteus 101

Essentially, your gluteus are your butt muscles! There are 3 main muscles that make up your gluteus:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus

 The Gluteus Maximus is the largest of these muscles (and indeed the largest in the whole body!) which is primarily used for upper leg extension.[1]

Gluteus Medius and Minimus perform similar functions, mostly to do with supporting and stabilising your body on your legs and helping to internally rotate your thigh.[2]

So why are your Gluteus so important?

Your gluteus play a very important role in keeping your body stabilised and supported. In fact, we use them all the time when running, walking up stairs and even plain old walking. Your gluteus stabilise the hip by counteracting gravity and maintaining proper leg alignment.

Strong glutes keep you balanced and supported, ensuring that every activity your body does is positively impacted. [3] Without them we couldn’t walk upright!

With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles  we spend a lot of time sitting so it is vitally important that we actively and mindfully work our posterior muscles.

Here are some of the benefits of stronger gluteus[4]:

  • Better Posture
  • Improved Balance and;
  • Reduced Chance of Injury

Weak gluteus and hip pain

The hip joint is one of the most powerful joints in your body, playing an important role it’s smooth and unimpeded movement.

In the case of hip flexor strains the origin of the pain is not usually at the front of the hip, but rather in the posterior hips muscles – the gluteus.[5]

[1] https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/butt-ology-101-how-to-enhance-your-gluteal-muscles
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluteus_medius_muscle
[3] http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/facts-about-glutes/slide/3
[4] https://fitstrong.co.za/why-are-strong-glutes-so-important/
[5] http://www.fitnessnetwork.com.au/resources-library/hip-flexor-strains-glutes-may-be-the-answer

Why is it so important to build a strong core?

‘Stronger abs’ or a better ‘six pack’ is a very common desired outcome when people first start a new exercise regime. Having a more defined waist line, flatter stomach and getting rid of the dreaded ‘love handles’ are sought after physical results when working the abdominal muscles.

Most movement starts at the centre and moves outwards, so aside from making you feel more comfortable in your swimmers at the beach, building a strong core can also provide you with important, long term health benefits:

  1. Help prevent injuries – building a strong core can help stabilise your body, improve your overall fitness and make you less prone to injury.

  2. Decrease occurrences of back pain – with our sedentary lifestyles we often spend hours sitting with a tilted pelvis and an arched back – this weakens our core and leads to pain in the upper and lower back.

  3. Protects your central nervous system – building a strong core helps to protect your inner organs and nervous system.[1]

Consequences of weak abs and core.

Your abs are the anchor of your spine, if they are weak then other structures, like your back muscles will have to work harder to support you. Repeated misuse of these muscles can lead to poor posture, upper and lower back pain and ultimately affect your quality of life. By strengthening your core you can prevent injuries and ensure that your movements are pain free.  

How do strong abs protect your back?

The abdominals provide significant protection against wear on the lumbar disks and back muscles. By preventing excessive rotation of the spine and promoting better posture, you control the curve of your spine and limit instances of pain in the upper and lower back.[2]

What’s the best prevention against developing back pain?

Back pain is a complex issue and there is no single reason that explains why it occurs. But there are a number of simple things you can do to prevent back pain. It’s all about reducing pressure, relieving strain and of course, strengthening your supporting muscles.

  1. A regular exercise regime that incorporates abdominal and back strengthening will help you develop a stronger and more flexible back.  A discipline such as Pilates helps to teach you the correct core–control techniques that result in improved general function and reduced back pain.[3]

  2. “If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body.[4]" Make sure your diet is full of fresh fruit and vegies, lean meat and diary with a focus on calcium and vitamin D will help keep your bones and spine strong.

  3. Being mindful of your posture and alignment will help keep your core engaged and prevent slouching and slumping, which is a common cause of damage to the spine and pain in the upper and lower back.

Where can you get help?

At Active Pilates, Geraldton we welcome you to an opportunity to make a difference in your body. We will introduce you to a fitness routine that suits your unique need. Our classes are designed to help you feel great and maintain life-long fitness.  All exercises are appropriate to the needs of our clients to prevent the occurrence of potential injuries. We can also conduct fitness assessments, which enable us to determine the most suitable exercises for your level of fitness and specific requirements.

You can book your initial fitness assessment with Active Pilates by visiting our website here.

“I love Pilates because it is fun, challenging, rewarding, and encouraging.”      
 Deb, November 2015

 

1. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/5-reasons-to-strengthen-your-core/
2. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/no-more-back-pain-tone-the-right-abs
3. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/core-promises-20091007-gnbv.html 4. http://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/back-pain/quick-tips-to-help-prevent-back-pain.aspx

 

How to overcome workout procrastination

Finding the motivation to begin or consistently maintain a healthy workout regime can be one of the biggest barriers to lifelong fitness. With our busy modern day schedules it can be a challenge to find the time to fit in a workout. To prioritise your wellbeing you need to overcome the toxic habit of procrastination.

Procrastination is essentially an emotional reaction. The more boring, ambiguous, and unstructured a task is, the more likely you are to ‘put it off’. [1]Most people recognise the importance of regular exercise and understand further the detrimental effects of sedentary lifestyles and how this impacts both your physical and mental health.

So how can you build structure and meaning  within your workout regime and overcome the burden procrastination?

Try these few simple tips:

1.    Be Realistic

Don’t kick off your new exercise regime with impractical expectations. By being realistic and setting achievable goals you’ll build the right mindset to keep you motivated.

2.    Start Small

Don’t take on too much when working out! Start small and build up to longer and more advanced exercises over time. If you bite off more than you can chew you’ll lose enthusiasm quickly!

3.    Make it Fun

Choose exercise that you enjoy. Bringing a friend or joining a group of other like-minded individuals breaks up repetitiveness and helps you to look forward to your workouts each week.

4.    Build a Habit

Schedule a specific time each week when you’ll work out or attend a class. Routine will help you break the ‘I’ll get to it tomorrow’ mentality and assist in building a healthy exercise habit.

5.    Commit to a Short Term Plan

Join a class that runs over a month.  Committing to a specific short term plan with measurable outcomes and goals will kick start your work out motivation. After a month you can re-assess what works for you.

6.    Acknowledge your Progress

Celebrate your victories, however small! Be kind to yourself and give credit where credit is due. Reward yourself with a treat that compliments your goals like new workout gear or a massage.

Active Pilates has just launched a new Unlimited Monthly Pass, exclusive to new clients for only $64!

We welcome you to come and join any of our classes and see for yourself how Pilates can help you feel great and maintain lifelong fitness.

To claim your Unlimited Monthly Pass call Katarina on 0415 128 804. 

[1] http://alifeofproductivity.com/why-you-procrastinate-10-tactics-to-help-you-stop/