Exercise for Your Mental Health

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

We all know that exercise is great for our physical health, but have you ever wondered if it good for our mental health? The answer is yes. Exercise does help us lose weight, look better, and feel stronger, but these are not the only things that exercise can do for us though. People tend to find out that as they exercise regularly they begin to get a better night’s sleep, they feel more energetic throughout the day, feel better all-around, feel and think more positive, etc. Exercise can be used to improve your mood, relieve stress, have a positive impact on anxiety and depression, ADHD, and more. The best part, is that you do not have to be a gym fanatic. You can go at your own pace and reap the benefits for yourself. Your outlook can change about many things if you use exercise to your advantage. Exercise is a powerful and beneficial tool, why not take advantage of it?

Anxiety, Depression, and Exercise

          Participating in regular exercise will help increase your feeling of well-being by releasing those feel-good endorphins. These endorphins are what trigger the positive feelings you get in your body. will Regularly exercising helps take your mind off of those worries and negative thoughts that tend to feed your anxiety. By the end of your workout, you will forget what it was that was causing you so much worry, tension, and stress. I mean it, I speak from experience. I have gone into the gym worrying and stressing, but when I come back out, it is like I completely forgot what I was stressed or worried about. Exercise is not just for looking good, it is also for feeling good as well, physically and mentally. The best part is that you do not have to exercise for hours on end, all you need is at least 30 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week. Honestly though, any amount of physical could make a big a difference.

 

How to Incorporate Activity Without the Gym

Some ways that you could incorporate activity into your everyday routine includes;

  • Parking farther away from the door at work or your destination
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • When walking to a destination, take the long way
  • Going for a walk around your neighborhood
  • Doing bodyweight exercises at home

You do not need a gym to reap the benefits. Get up, get moving, and feel better about life.

DOMS and How to Prevent it

By: Andrew Rangel

What is DOMS?

Have you ever wondered why you are feeling really sore a day or two after a workout? What you are experiencing is most likely DOMS or delayed onset muscles soreness. DOMS is not experienced during a workout and could occur between 12 and 24 hours post workout (Ingraham). Those who have trained at a high intensity or have gone straight to training at high intensity rather than gradually working their way to a high intensity have definitely experienced DOMS.

What causes DOMS?

Delayed onset muscle soreness can affect anyone, from a beginner to an advanced athlete or even someone who is not an athlete. Exercise that you are not used to or an intensity that is outside your comfort zone can trigger delayed onset muscle soreness (Olson). These are not the only triggers for DOMS though. Eccentric contractions such bicep curls or the downward motion during a squat can also trigger DOMS (Ingraham). Also, being dehydrated can make DOMS worse than normal which is never good. During high intensity workouts, microscopic tears in your muscle fibers can occur. Increasing inflammation is what your body does in response to this which then may lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (Olson).

Symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness include muscles that feel tender to the touch, reduced range of motion due to pain and stiffness when moving, swelling in the affected muscles, muscle fatigue, or short-term loss of muscle strength (Olson). Just remember, you do not have to feel sore in order to say you had a good workout. Feeling sore for the next couple of days is not the goal.

Ways to Prevent or Treat DOMS

          You may think that laying on the couch or just relaxing taking the day off will help with DOMS. The truth is, doing either of those things will only make the pain worse. An ideal way to continue with your routine is to do light intensity workouts, just as long as the exercises you are doing do not involve so much weight or volume. Some ways that could help reduce the soreness that comes with DOMS includes massage, using a foam roller, cold bath (if you can handle it), warm bath, etc.

DOMS most likely cannot be avoided, but there a few things that can help to lessen the degree of soreness that comes with it. Ways such as staying hydrated, warming up 5-10 minutes before a workout, doing a proper cooldown after a workout along with static stretching, and gradually increasing weight and intensity in your workouts (Olson). It is much better to work your way up step by step rather than jumping from moderate to vigorous intensity within the first month. It is not worth an injury.

References

Paul Ingraham. (n.d.). Post-Exercise, Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness. Retrieved from             https://www.painscience.com/articles/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness.php

Olson, G. (n.d.). Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/doms#seeking-help

 

 

Are you struggling to find time to workout? Try Tabata!

Lasting benefits in just 4 minutes!

HIIT Training has become a very popular workout plan. HIIT stands for high interval intensity training. A 20-minute Tabata workout allows you to improve your cardiorespiratory endurance along with other benefits. This also helps you work your way towards the ACSM guidelines for weekly physical activity of 150-300 minutes.

According to exercise physiologist Dr. Michele Olson states that “Turns out, it can burn a whopping 13.5 calories a minute—and double a person’s metabolic rate for 30 minutes afterward.”

4 MINUTE TABATA WORKOUT

  • Burpees – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Jumping jacks – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Jump Lunges – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Pushups – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Sit ups – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Mountain climbers – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Squat jumps – 20 seconds 
  • Rest – 10 seconds 
  • Burpees – 20 seconds 
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • REPEAT IF YOU HAVE TIME

How Mobility Can Make Or Break Your Workout

Foundational Mobility 

     What if I pointed out there was a way to improve every aspect of athletic performance in just a few minutes every day, with little or no effort, but it’s regularly ignored by a huge amount of gym goers? Mobility work is what I’m talking about. Studies show that stretching can increase biomechanical efficiency, reduce the risk of injuries and improve muscle relaxation as well as improve muscle extensibility. There are several different ways to stretch and the benefits vary just as much as the modalities. Understanding how to effectively implement the different stretching techniques can dramatically increase, or decrease effectiveness. In this article I will provide a basic explanation of the most common stretching modalities and strategies for using them effectively. 

     Dynamic Stretching is when a full range of motion is achieved but moved through slowly, or at a controlled moderate pace instead of being held. Studies show that dynamic stretching before a workout can effectively reduce the risk of injury during the workout as well as increase strength and power. Just about any movement pattern can be considered a dynamic stretch, squats, lunges, trunk twists or even something as simple as reaching overhead could be considered a dynamic stretch. It’s best to do dynamic stretches before a workout that mimic the movement patterns that will be performed during the workout. For example, doing a light set of squats with full range of motion is a good way to get ready for heavy squats. 

     Static stretching is generally the most common modality. This is when a stretch is achieved and then held for a short period of time, usually about twenty to thirty seconds per bout. More short and long term increases in mobility can be achieved with increased time in the stretch, but the benefits taper off dramatically after about one minute per muscle group per day. It usually comes as a shock to most people when I tell them doing static stretches before a workout statistically increases the likelihood of an injury during the workout. There is an exception is for older populations, but for the general population static stretches are safer and more effective towards the end of a workout. 

     Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, or P.N.F. stretching involves cycles of activating and relaxing a muscle group while maintaining a stretch. This stretching modality is the most effective way of increasing range of motion. General guidelines for P.N.F. stretching utilize a three to six second contraction of the stretched muscle followed by a ten to thirty second static stretching period. Just like static stretching, P.N.F. should be done at the end of a workout. 

     Implementing these techniques can go a long way to improving an individual’s mobility and athletic performance, but it’s not all there is to know about stretching, in fact it’s barely scratching the surface of what is understood about mobility. Breathing techniques, pain tolerance and other neurological activity can greatly affect range of motion. Just like any aspect of fitness, mobility is almost infinitely complex, especially when individual needs are taken into consideration. With that being said, the steps in this article should provide a good way to build a foundation. The most important thing to take from this article is that mobility work is an incredibly valuable part of any workout routine. Good luck, and enjoy your fitness journey. 

For more information please consult the following sources

Sources 

 

Teşu Adrian. “STRETCHING AND ITS BENEFITS.” Annals of the “Ştefan Cel Mare” University: Physical Education and Sport Section – The Science and Art of Movement 2.2 (2019): 88-91. Web.

 

Popp, Jennifer K., David M. Bellar, Donald L. Hoover, Bruce W. Craig, Brianna N. Leitzelar, Elizabeth A. Wanless, and Lawrence Judge. “Pre- and Post-Activity Stretching Practices of Collegiate Athletic Trainers in the United States.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 31.9 (2017): 2347-354. Web.