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Exercise – be it swimming, playing badminton, or going on a 10-mile hike – often tops lists as a way to lift spirits. And it’s been proven to aid mental health as well as giving physical benefits.
Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says our anxious reaction to stress – the fight or flight syndrome manifested by nausea, racing heart and sweating – cries out to be relieved through physical exercise. But those averse to donning trainers and sweating on the pavements can still get many of the benefits from singing loudly or enrolling in a dance class. “Not only does it balance all the gases in your body but it stops you getting a racing heart and sweating… that’s not useful when you’re sitting in a traffic jam.” Aerobic activity releases endorphins, “and that’s a natural, good free drug,” she says.
Of course at Diets Don’t Work we believe that a higher level of intensity will bring more gains both in terms of mental health, physical well being, disease prevention and longevity. Any good personal trainer will advise you that to gat all the benefits from exercise you should either exercise at or above 60% of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes 3 times a week. If you are just getting going or are no longer a spring chicken then you can take it a bit more gently, but you should try to exercise at or above 50% of maximum heart rate for 30 minutes 5 times a week. If you are struggling to get motivated at all then even a few sessions with one of our supportive personal trainers might be enough to get you going.