Moving to Help Your Mood!
We constantly hear about how exercise is good for your heart, your body and your general health; however, there are also all kinds of not-strictly physical benefits to moving around on a regular basis! It’s good for your brain, it can clear your mind, reduce tension and increase energy. It can reduce symptoms of depression and it can help you feel good about yourself. Physical activity can also help keep you awake when you need to be and asleep when you need to be. So, it may be time to stop avoiding athletic activity and start incorporating exercise into our lives!
Aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression. Consider discovering Cootes Paradise through a hike, or take your bike out on the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail. Dig up your backyard or get your hands dirty in the McMaster Teaching & Community Garden (navigate to http://sustainability.mcmaster.ca under the Green Space tab to find out how you can get involved). Exercise the services that your student card provides by swiping it at the Joan Buddle Service desk in DBAC to go for a swim in the pool or a stroll on the indoor track as both of these services are already included in your tuition fee. And, if you are interested in starting a longer term relationship with the gym, visit the Recreation Business office (WG 101) to purchase a membership to the Pulse or to sign up for an instructional class.
If you are looking to regulate your sleep, couple your morning exercise with exposure to outdoor light. Being exposed to natural light in the morning, whether you’re exercising or not, can improve your sleep at night by reinforcing your body’s sleep-wake cycle. However, if you are in need of a good night’s sleep, try incorporating vigorous exercise into your late afternoon or early evening. The type of vigorous workout we’re talking about is a cardiovascular workout. That means you engage in some activity in which you keep your heart rate up and your muscles pumping continuously for at least 20 minutes. Try to schedule at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three or four times a week. Be sure to avoid scheduling exercise 2-3 hours before your bedtime as this could be detrimental to your sleep rather than enhancing.
Exercise doesn’t have to be regimented, it can be simple, it can be a solitary adventure or a group embarkment, it can be serene and peaceful or it can be totally goofy and best of all, it might be something you are already doing without realizing it. Choose whatever activity you enjoy and make it part of your routine.
Do you want an exercise routine tailored to counter-act your mood, try these suggestions:
ANXIOUS, STRESSED, AND UNFOCUSED
We suggest: Mind-body exercises! Exercises like Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi require concentration and patience. This means that in addition to getting a workout, focusing on things like breathing and posture will help take your mind off your busy schedule. The Pulse offers a number of fitness classes that engage your body and mind, check them out here: http://marauders.ca/sports/2011/3/29/InstructionalCalendar.aspxtab=weeklycalendar.
On a budget? No problem. Check out these free online beginner yoga and meditation classes: http://wellness.mcmaster.ca/wellnesseducation/my-yoga-online.html
ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED
We suggest: Aerobic exercise! Activities that get your heart rate up, like jogging and kickboxing, will burn off excess energy, release feel-good endorphins, and decrease your blood pressure (which is linked with excessive anger). The great thing about cardio workouts is that they can be inexpensive and convenient. DBAC has a fabulous indoor track. The best part – it’s free for McMaster students!
We suggest: Spinning/Aerobics Class, or even a fitness video online! By throwing yourself into a high energy class like spinning, or aerobics it is easy to beat the boredom blues, and ultimately maintain a happy health mentality. Check out the internet for exercise videos online, call up a friend, and do this adventuring together!
DOWN AND LONELY
We suggest: Group fitness classes! Working toward similar goals with a group can boost your mood! Group fitness lets you enjoy a friendly supportive environment, meet people, and feel like you’re part of something bigger! Many are available through DBAC, check them out here: http://marauders.ca/ sports/2011/3/29/InstructionalCalendar.aspx?tab=weeklycalendar.
If you’re on a budget try out the free SWCfit classes, that are offered from September to April. Inquire at the SWELL (MUSC B118) for more information.
- The Best Physical Exercise for Anger Management
- Bust Your Bad Mood with Exercise
- How to Fall Asleep
- Exercise for Non-Jocks
- Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood.