If you do not have one already, the end of summer is a good time to start an exercise routine before the start of the “darker” months when it is often more difficult to do so. It is a wonderful way to prepare ourselves and ensure that we will exercise regularly during a period when we often eat heavier food and when our mood can be up and down. Exercise is important all through the year but even more so during the winter months. It helps keep our brain and body going.
As well as boosting physical and mental health, exercise naturally lowers anxiety and feelings of depression, boost our mood and self-esteem, eases tension and stress, and improves sleep. This way, it increases wellbeing and it does this through the release of endorphins.
What are endorphins?
Endorphins are opioids hormones that help reduce pain (by reducing inflammation and the perception of pain) and boost our mood. Compared to other hormones that act similarly (such as dopamine, serotonin or endocannabinoids), endorphins are released quickly when we practice an activity to boost them. Both endorphins and opioids act on the opioid receptors in our body that promote feelings of pleasure and regulate pain. However, endorphins are naturally produced by the body and do not have the addictive effect of opioids.
How can we boost our endorphins?
They are various ways to naturally increase the levels of endorphins in our body such as dancing, sex, listening to music, laughing or meditating, and exercise. Research has shown that even 20-30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three times a week can promote the release of endorphins: it can be aerobic exercise or strength training.
Find what you fancy: brisk walking, swimming, cycling, running, golf, housework, playing tennis, yoga…and implement a weekly routine. I find it helpful to stick to the same days and times in the week. Put it in your diary, it is as important, if not more, than any meeting! I personally go swimming three times a week first thing in the morning, readying myself for the day ahead: I have more energy and greater focus – a great way to start my day!
If you find yourself seating a lot during the day, try incorporating small stretching routines all through the day. Movement brings oxygen and nutrients to our cells and promotes endorphins which will help you continue with your day without feeling aches and fatigue. And then, there is always the option to go out for a walk – even a short 15-minute one – which will refresh both your body and mind and expose you to healthy natural vitamin D, essential for wellbeing.
Lastly, if you find you are struggling to stick to your routine, why not ask a friend or join a class? Research has also shown that we are more likely to stick to an activity if we are not alone and being with others also promotes endorphins so it is an all-win situation!
So why don’t you start today? 3 simple steps: decide what you like, put it in your diary, go with it! Trust me, you will feel all the better and both your body and your mind will thank you for it!
It would be great to hear from you what exercise routine you have, what you enjoy, what you found works best: share share share so we can all benefit, boost our endorphins and feel better 😃
👉 If you are looking for more advice regarding your diet and lifestyle, feel free to get in touch with me on 07788 444 199 or https://biovitalnutrition.com/contact/. I offer different programmes with varying levels of support to suit your needs and your health goals.