You get home after a long day’s work, you’re tired, drained, and all you want to do is set up camp in front of the TV for the night (even the thought of having to make dinner is painful). Sound all too familiar? Indeed, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind after a long slog in the office. However, through personal experience, and more importantly, a wealth of empirical research, physical activity has been found to be very important for emotional well-being.
Extensive research has found that physical activity releases chemicals in the brain that make us feel good (Callaghan, 2004). Everyday benefits include boosting self-esteem, reduced stress and worry, improved sleep, a sense of achievement and increased opportunities for social interaction. Of more significance to emotional well-being, Aurelio and colleagues (2005) report that physical activity can have a positive impact on treatment and even prevention of psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety.
While the word ‘exercise’ may strike fear into some people, it is important to remember that exercise is not defined by and confined to running laps around a track or going to the gym every night of the week. There are countless ways to keep active, many of them for free. The following are just some suggestions for how you can start to keep fit and improve your mood at the same time (it’s a win-win really)! Remember….there is something for everyone:
Find activities that you enjoy and take just 30 minutes a day to invest in your well-being. You won’t regret it!