We all know that exercise improves your mental health – but what about those who hate exercise?
As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I’m a big advocate for looking after your mental health. It has been widely spoken about that exercise is really beneficial to mental health, with the Royal College of Psychiatrists claiming that physical activity can be just as beneficial as traditional therapies in treating mild Depression (source). I have to admit, I wasn’t too thrilled when I first found this out, as I’m a complete exercise-phobe (think of the girl who was always the last on the bench in Benchball!). But, it is something I’ve gradually managed to improve upon and I now have a gym that I attend, and have been known to go out for an occasional jog here and there. Nevertheless, I thought it would be exciting today to note down some of my favourite strategies and help a girl/guy out!
Attend Exercise Classes
My favourite way to go and get some exercise is to actually join an exercise class. This was a surprise for me too. Being around other people can be nerve wracking at first; especially as I felt so self-conscious, but I actually far prefer classes to using the gym machines. Classes are a great opportunity to get talking to people and have a whole load of fun. I always leave classes feeling far more exhausted than I do when I’ve spent an hour in the gym – which just goes to show how high intensity they are.
Join The Gym
I’d also really recommend joining a gym. I find it a lot easier to exercise at the gym because everybody is there for the same purpose. Some are expensive, though there are some much more affordable options nowadays (I use PureGym, as they have multiple branches local to me). Using PureGym as an example, there are also offers to join the gym at a reduced rate if you only attend in off-peak hours. This is a win-win situation from my perspective, as you’re paying less for the membership but the gym is also likely to be quieter. Theres’ then less to feel self-conscious about and you won’t have to wait as long to use your preferred machine. Make sure to book on an induction before starting to ensure that you know how to make the most of the machines and get the best workout.
I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that in Birmingham theres’ also a ‘Be Active’ scheme which means that you can enter council-led gyms and leisure centres for free within particular times. I couldn’t be more of an advocate for these; as you don’t need to pay anything for a gym membership and you can still get some workouts in. Have a look at the facilities available in your local area to find something that works for you!
Exercise From Home
There are a mass of YouTube videos out there that will get you exercising without even leaving your house! From HIIT, ’10 minute tutorials’ to Yoga and Pilates, there’s definitely something that will be beneficial, and for the majority of them you won’t even need weights or any equipment. If you wanted to do this, I’d recommend investing in some weights as they help to build muscle – but you could always fill water bottles and use those instead!
Wear Comfortable Clothes
When I first started working out, I spent a lot of money on sports bras’, leggings and other workout clothes because I thought I needed to. Oh, how wrong was I! In my opinion, the best thing to do is to choose clothes that you’re comfortable in and that make you feel confident. Hunkemoller Sportswear* offer a whole range of gorgeous sportswear clothes and I’ve been loving wearing their HKMX Blogger Xenia Mesh Sports Shirt on top of a gym vest. My leggings are from Forever 21 and my trainers were Nike ones that I found at an outlet a couple of years back. Now that I realise it’s possible to wear exercise clothes without feeling uncomfortable, I feel a lot happier going to the gym and working out.
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*Hunkemöller kindly sent me this top to review for this post. All thoughts and comments remain my own!