Research by Harvard Medical School shows that exercise is an effective treatment for depression and in some cases more effective than taking anti depressant drugs.
When you have depression or anxiety, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference to your mental and physical health. In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain - the region that helps regulate mood is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression.
Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can help improve mood and reduce anxiety by:
Releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being
If you're feeling stressed, anxious or life is just getting to the point where it seems to be a bit much, you can create a sense of calm by doing simple activities to help lift anxiety and generate positive shifts in your brain and body.
1. Calm is an inside job. Give yourself the gift of serenity and start the day with ten minutes of breathing, mindfulness or meditation. Think calm, measured and open-minded, and your daily activities will correspond. You can use a meditation or relaxation app or simply do deep breathing exercises just focusing on the breath only.
2. When fear and anxiety take hold, the nervous system directs blood flow to the largest muscles to protect from physical danger which often results in cold hands. So when you warm your hands that can send signals to your nervous system that its ok to calm down. Visualising warm hands or rubbing your hands together or holding onto a heat bag can be enough to help.
3. Another great stress reliever is digging in the garden - just...
It's winter so many of us are eating more stodgy (high carb) foods such as pizza, pasta, bread, rice and potatoes and have started noticing a creep up the scales or a little extra around the middle. Belly fat is a tough area to shift for most people but there are a few things you can do to help trim the tum and in turn feel more energised.
The first thing to do is cut down on refined carbs - highly processed foods like white bread, biscuits, chips, pastries and cakes cause rapid increases in your blood glucose levels which trigger an insulin response. The result is your body stores excess glucose as body fat if you aren't doing enough exercise to burn it off. Whole grains and slow release (low GI) such as brown rice, sweet potatoes and wholegrain sourdough breads are healthier alternatives than the white food varieties especially pasta, bread and sweets. Just try to eat strchy carbs at lunchtime and restrict them at dinnertime, opting for a plate of greens and protein for dinner.
There's something going on with children's health - children are less active and eat more junk food than ever before. So how do we keep kids healthy and active and set them up for lifelong good habits? Here are some simple routines you can implement in your home and day-to-day lives.
Move together every day - Kids are active in a different way to adults. While we might set aside time for the gym or a walk, most kids will play happily play and run during school time. But at home, where there are numerous electronic gadgets, kids now spend only 8% time outdoors playing and spend a whopping 2 hours a day on average on devices for non-homework purposes and take on average 1000 steps less a day, instead spending time on screens. With extensive research finding that long periods of time sitting and spending time on screens is linked to obesity, diabetes and behavioural issues.
Try to allocate time for your kids to do at least 30 mins of physical activity with you every day such as walking the...
Learning how to relax is an important part of learning how to reduce stress and anxiety and sleep better. Here are 5 useful strategies to help you get a better night's sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. No one strategy works every time - it's important to try different techniques as we like change with most things and try to practice a couple so you get used to it and know how to do it without reading.
1. Diaphram letter "b" technique for stress
Start by holding in your stomach muscles tightly and breathing normally to help you focus inwardly. Place your hands on your tummy under your belly button.
As you gently breathe in, push your tummy out so it pushes against your hand imagining your tummy is the letter "b"
Hold the breath and then as you breathe out imagine your breath down your spine like the flat back part of the letter "b" while you pull your tummy back in and let go of the breath.
All you have to think about is your breath and the letter "b"
The benefits of exercise are numerous, for instance exercise stimulates brain chemicals (endorphins) that make you feel happier and more relaxed and nurtures emotional and mental well-being. It also helps you feel better about your appearance and boosts your confidence and self esteem. Exercise improves your metabolism and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system so you have more energy.
Exercise also helps you sleep better, gives you more focus to be more productive, helps in weight loss and improves bone density, joint stability and range of motion which are the keys to reducing injury and improving daily function as we age. What can't exercise do!?!! Yet we always seem to find an excuse not to. When I'm feeling too tired and just can't be bothered, I remind myself and my clients "It's hard to start but you always feel better afterwards." When you make the effort to exercise, you never regret it!
You can incorporate exercise into your every day routines like taking the stairs...
The term self care spans a full range of issues: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Some people think of it as 'mind, body, spirit' or "wellness", "healthy balance" or simply mental health. All are interconnected and failure to take care of yourself in one area, say your body can lead to issues in another, say mind or emotional state. Self care in its simplest form can be compared the process to oxygen masks in airplanes - you’re supposed to secure your own mask before you assist others. The logic here is that if you can’t breathe, you can’t very well help anyone else. Practising self-care is much the same. You have to take care of your own mental and physical health before you can truly devote yourself to your family and friends. But what is self-care, exactly? Generally speaking, self-care is engaging in activities and behaviours that have a positive effect on your mental and physical health. There is no one thing - or even a list of things - that encompasses self-care....
Inhaling salty chips, gorging on chocolate, eating biscuit after biscuit. Do you know the feeling? The need to eat and eat and eat and the hideous guilt that comes with it. Studies have shown that people who eat their feelings are commonly suffering from excessive stress, anxiety and depression and binge eat as a way of coping with how they're feeling. Binge eating is where you eat large quantities of food in a small amount of time (within a 2 hr period) with an emotionally charged aspect to your food frenzy. You will probably feel that you just can't stop eating or that you don't want to stop eating. Sufferers eat much faster than normal gobbling down food until uncomfortably full and eating when not feeling hungry. Sometimes eating alone and feeling guilty, depressed or disgusted after eating. Binge eating is on the rise due to the convenience and abundance of cheap food at almost any hour of the day combined with the increase in mental illness and stress related illnesses.
There's so much misinformation about belly fat and how to reduce it that are unrealistic and simply not true. The first
thing you need to know is you can’t spot reduce fat. Diet and exercise are the critical factors in getting a flatter tummy and a 6 pack.
What’s hiding those abdominals is subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat that's just under your skin. If it jiggles and you can grab it, it's subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat on the other hand is a more more dangerous fat as it wraps around your organs. Either way you look at it, holding onto excess fat around the middle is the most dangerous fat of all compared to fat on your thighs or arms.
When you see someone with washboard abs, they had to burn off excess fat to reveal the abdominal muscles and exercise is the best way to accomplish that. For this reason, HIIT and Tabata workouts, exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously (like push ups, squat jumps etc.), and weight lifting are going to be the...
Every new year we set about making New Year's resolutions. These 20 tips will help improve your physical, emotional and mental health for life not just for the new year:
The more we learn about the relationship between the gut and the brain, the more evidence we get about the role of nutrition in mental health. People who consume more fruits and vegetables have lower levels of depression than those who eat less fruit and vegetables.Nutritional improvements over time (a balance of vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins) can improve your mental health and quality of life. Eating leafy greens and vegetables in the broccoli family (cabbage, cauliflower, kale) may even help slow cognitive decline.
Include a handful of nuts mid-afternoon – they’ll satisfy the 3pm munchies, help with weight management and reduce blood cholesterol
Consider seeing an accredited practising dietitian or personal trainer. There’s no quick fix, but professional help is a worthwhile investment