With the ever-changing restrictions coming into effect across the nation, finding the motivation to do anything besides binge-watching Netflix is extremely difficult. But at a time like this, your wellbeing is a priority.
A survey by mental health charity Mind, found that 75% of 18-24-year-olds reported that their mental health got worse during lockdown.
Exercise is an effective way to boost your mood and get yourself motivated to do other things. Exercise won’t solve all the issues you may be having with your wellbeing, but in moderation, it is proven to increase serotonin and dopamine levels. Completing easy and effective exercises may improve your mood and help you learn new skills.
Short physical exercises are proven to boost serotonin. As your heart rate increases, your body produces endorphins which promote mood regularity and allow serotonin to be absorbed. Dopamine is also widely known as the learning chemical. When you learn something new your brain releases large amounts of this chemical which creates feelings of pleasure. This feeling then motivates you to repeat a specific behaviour.
We caught up with Lewis Mee (@lewismeefitness), a professional personal trainer in the North West, for some beginner, pulse-raising exercises that promote overall wellbeing.
If you can’t get to your local park because of health reasons or you don’t feel comfortable heading out in public (or you just can’t be bothered), these following exercises can be done in the smallest of spaces with no weights required. You can take your time learning these new skills and improve your technique as you go.
Here are Lewis’ recommendations for three easy and convenient exercises, ideal for small spaces and perfect for everyone.
Lewis says: “Push ups are a great addition to a work-out as you can start at any level. A lot of people think push ups are too difficult, but you can start easy on your knees with one or two reps and work your way up day by day. The goal is to keep your body as straight as possible, whether you start on your knees or in full plank position, keep your back strong. You want to focus on keeping your elbows slightly tucked to your side as you slowly bring your chest to the floor. Aim for 6-10 push ups for 3 sets and try increasing the reps each day.”
Lewis says: “Sit ups are great for beginners but once again, can be developed to tailor your skills. For beginners, using momentum from your arms to bring your chest up to your knees is a great place to start. Avoid lifting and straining your neck up as that is an unnatural position for your neck and may cause pain. With your feet flat on the ground and your knees pointing to the ceiling, focus on rounding your back to contract your abdominal muscles, breathing out on the way up. To advance from using your arms, progress to using your elbows and then to full sit ups.”
Lewis says: “The aim is to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping, as well as burning calories. Although it may be difficult to progress this exercise, short but intense bursts of movements are bound to get you out of breath but motivated for more. Focus on simply getting yourself out of a sluggish state and moving. Start with 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off and increase as you need to.”
If you find yourself struggling with your wellbeing, Mind has a range of support available.
- Helplines – Mind’s infolines provide information and support by phone, email and text.
- Local Minds – provide face-to-face services across England and Wales. These might be talking therapies, peer support and advocacy.
- Side by Side – A supportive online community for anyone experiencing a mental health problem.