If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, or just life in general, the last thing you might feel like doing is working out. It just seems sometimes that dragging yourself outside or to the gym is just not happening today. Just forget about it.
Or should you? Studies have shown that moving your body is a key component to maintaining mental health and emotional wellbeing. Even a brisk 15-minute walk can be just the thing to raise your serotonin levels, sending mood-boosting endorphins into your system for a natural lift in mood and emotion. If you’re looking to get out of your rut, perhaps adding a little movement to your day might be just the trick. If you have underlying physical health concerns, be sure to get approval from your doctor before starting any fitness routine.
There are some tricks to making this process a little easier. We’ve got some suggestions on how to make it easier and, yes, FUN to get a little fitness into your daily routine:
- Do something you like – If you hate running, the idea of lacing up shoes and going for a jog is not going to be something that makes you bolt off the couch with excitement. If you move, that counts. Dancing in your bedroom to the radio for three songs, taking your dog for a longer walk, swimming, fencing, gardening, cycling – all these activities will help boost your mood. If you’re a gym person, experiment with classes you love until you find just the right class that makes you want to show up regularly. Sign up for a race if you like to run or cycle, or try guest passes at different facilities until you find something you like and will do consistently.
- Be ready to go – Packing a gym bag and picking out clothes might be enough to convince you to stay home before you even get to your workout, which is why having a ready-packed gym bag is so important. Add water, a health post-workout snack, extra socks, and any equipment you might need and keep it by the door or in your car. Lay out any clothes you’ll need the night before. Some of us sleep in our workout clothes if we have a 6 am class time — hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
- Reward yourself – Have a new show you want to watch? Been dying for a new pair of shoes? Set a reward system that says you can have them as a healthy reward for getting up and working out. Some people sign up for a race to get back into running, others take their reward so far as to take an iPad with their favorite show on it to the gym and watch it on the elliptical so they can get the reward while they’re moving. Whatever works for you, do it. Just one thing: avoid using food as part of your reward system unless it’s healthy; empty carbs and sugar don’t really have long-term mood benefits, and you don’t want to undo all your hard work.
- Use the buddy system – Sometimes, the hurdle to getting out of the house is doing it alone. Enlist a favorite friend to meet you on your walk or to join you for that spinning class. You’ll enjoy the company, you might have a few laughs, and you’ll both enjoy some mood-boosting movement!
- Use color as a motivator – It might sound silly, but studies have shown that color can be a great key to leaving the house. Maybe add some color to your workout gear to motivate you to show it off. Not only will you get moving, but you might be enticed to show yourself off!
These are just a few tips to help you get moving and into a mood-boosting fitness routine. Your mood and mind will love you for it, and your body will thank you!