Episode 5 – 3rd April 2023
THE POWER OF MOVEMENT
How to use exercise to support your mental health
“Having lost, you know, 32 kilos in the last sort of six months and now all of a sudden running longer runs, and it’s getting a lot easier, a lot easier than I thought I’d ever be able to. And all of those things boost my body image. They boost my self-esteem. They reduce my stress. They reduce the likelihood of me being affected by my depression, my anxiety, my complex PTSD that I live with. All of this stuff is reduced by exercise. Like a fucking magic trick, right? That’s available to all of us.”
Movement, Mental Health, Exercise, Mind-Body Connection, Cognitive Decline, Sleep Quality, Addiction Recovery, Social Connections, Exercise Routine, Cardiovascular Activities, Resistance Training, Depression, Anxiety, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Pandemic, Physical Activity, Mindfulness, Outdoor Exercise, Goal Setting, Seeking Help
In this episode of Reboot Your Thinking, I dive into the power of movement and its impact on mental health. I explore the science behind the mind-body connection and how different types of exercise can benefit our mental well-being. I discuss the challenges of incorporating movement into our daily lives and its potential benefits, including protecting against cognitive decline, improving sleep quality, and aiding addiction recovery. I also take a closer look at the importance of exercising with others and the added mental health benefits that come with social connections. Plus, I share 10 practical tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life and improve your mental health. From starting small and finding enjoyable activities to setting achievable goals and using technology, I cover it all. Don’t forget to join the conversation and share your own experiences with exercise and mental health too. And remember, seeking help and support is crucial for maintaining mental health, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you need it. Stay tuned for more insightful episodes, and let’s keep moving for better mental health!
Mentioned in the show
Exercise and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study of online social media users (2021) by Liu, Shujuan, et al. which was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
(00:02) – Movement for Mental Health
In this episode of Reboot Your Thinking I explore the power of movement and how exercise can support mental health. The link between physical activity and mental well-being has been well-established, with exercise releasing endorphins that promote feelings of happiness and reduce pain. Different types of exercise can have varying impacts on mental health, with cardiovascular activities helping to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, while resistance training can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of accomplishment. Finding the right exercise routine that suits an individual’s mental health needs is crucial, and it’s important to approach with an open mind.
(08:26) – Incorporating Movement Benefits
I dive into the challenges of incorporating movement into daily life and its potential benefits for mental health. Simple actions like parking further away from the store and taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help create a stronger mind-body connection. Exercise has a protective effect on the brain, possibly protecting against cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. It can also be as effective as medication for treating depression and can aid addiction recovery by providing healthy coping mechanisms. Additionally, exercise can improve sleep quality, executive function, reduce inflammation, and improve body image.
(20:44) – Exercising with Others
I discuss the relationships between exercise and mental health during the pandemic using data collected from social media users. Regular exercise was associated with better mental health outcomes, including lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. Engaging in physical activity with others, even virtually, was linked to greater mental health benefits. I also provide 10 practical tips to help listeners incorporate exercise into their lives and improve their mental health, including starting small, finding enjoyable activities, setting goals, utilising technology, making it social, incorporating movement through the day, practicing mindfulness, and more!
(32:54) – Mixing Exercise Routine
I explore different ways to make exercise more enjoyable and sustainable for improved mental health. Mixing up routines, trying new activities, and changing environments can help prevent boredom and quitting. Spending time outdoors and incorporating nature into exercise routines can boost neurogenesis and mental health. I also emphasise the importance of being patient and kind to yourself, setting realistic goals, tracking progress, and celebrating successes. Sharing personal experiences of how exercise has positive impacted my own mental health, I encourage listeners to incorporate movement into their daily lives and share their own stories with us!
(38:57) – Seeking Help and Support is OK
Finally, I express gratitude for your support and encourage listener engagement through comments, reviews, and social media interaction. Remember that seeking help and support is vital for maintaining mental health, and don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals or trusted support systems if anything discussed in this podcast episode resonates with you. Stay connected with me on social media or through my website, and tune in for upcoming episodes that may feature your questions and voice messages.
The 10 Takeaway Tips This Week
2. Find something you enjoy.
3. Set small, realistic, measurable goals.
4. Use technology.
5. Make it social.
6. Incorporate movement into your day.
7. Practice mindfulness.
8. Mix it up.
9. Get outside as much as you can.
10. Be patient. Be kind to yourself.
Watch the episode
G’Day, and welcome to this episode of the reboot, your thinking podcast. My name is Nick Bowditch. This is the podcast that reimagines mindset, mindfulness, and mental health from the perspective of someone who gives and gets a therapy. This is episode number five. And it’s entitled, the power of movement, how to use exercise to support your mental health. So this is one I’ve sort of been looking forward to a little bit because I’ve just been on a bit of a kick myself to get my shit together physically and and just lose some weight and get some clarity and set some new goals and, you know, work towards something physically that will and has helped my mental health as well, which has been great. So Today, I wanna talk about that. The link between how we move and exercise and our physical movement and how that can benefit our mental strength and our mental health in the in the long run as well. So yeah. So I’m gonna go through a few things, a bit of the the content around, you know, why the science behind it, I guess. Behind movement and mental health, and I’m gonna just go through some really surprising things I found out whilst researching for this episode, share that academic paper as usual. And then we’re gonna finish with ten tips for you to actually take away from today and put into action this week. And, yeah, be able to change your life in some way. So the science is the first thing. Science is always the first thing with me. So what’s the science behind movement and mental health. Right? There’s a there’s a significant amount of research indicating that physical activity can have a positive effect on your mental health. Exercising releases endorphins there, which are natural chemicals in the brain that promote feelings of happiness and contentness and soleneness and reduce pain. And dolphins also interact with the receptors in our brain that control mood. Which can lead to feelings of calm and relaxation and hope. Right? Regular physical activity has also been shown to improve cognitive function to boost your self esteem to reduce symptoms of depression, to reduce anxiety. Like, there’s loads and loads and loads of research on that. We’ll go through some tonight.
There’s a few benefits to the different types of exercise too. So we’re gonna talk about No. The exercise it has to suit you, you know? And and for me, for a long while, it’s been boxing. It’s been my thing to really a therapeutic exercise for me both exercise and exercise. Boxing is a great form of therapy for me because it’s just a very humbling thing and it’s a very you know, it shows me it’s really easy to see metrics along the way as you improve, which I like as well. It’s great exercise. Like, it’s great fitness stuff. And, you know, it’s a real good camaraderie and stuff with the people who who you’re doing it with too. So All of those things are up to something that’s really quite useful for me. And and more recently running has become a bit of a thing with Moose, I never ever thought it would be in my life. So yeah.
So different types of physical activity can have different benefits on your mental health too. Right? So for instance, cardio stuff, running, cycling, aerobics, you know, stuff where you where you’re moving and really getting your heart rate up can really boost your mood and help with symptoms of depression and anxiety particularly. Whereas, you know, resistance training, strength training can also have that positive impact impact on your mental health. But it does that by boosting your self esteem and providing a sense of accomplishment and a sense of, you know, being able to, you know, be proud of something to be able to move something really heavy, to be able to hit personal best all the time, which is good too. And then there’s there’s slightly more passive things in some ways. In some ways, it’s a lot harder yoga and other kind of mind body exercises, which can help reduce your stress, promote relaxation, and just generally kind of improve your overall well-being. Right?
But It’s worth noting here too that it’s important to find an exercise routine that works for you and your mental health needs, you know, not not me, not somebody else, not what your sisters, boyfriends, neighbor, dad, and that worked for them. Like, you really have to find your own niche here and find your own gig, you know? But there’s lots of things to choose from. And and sometimes when we’re when we’re sitting under some mental illness, we can’t even see the options, you know. We can’t even sort of imagine ourselves doing anything different. So that’s the first thing is to head into it with an open mind and see what see what you might find. Right? Because really, you never know.
There’s a mind body connection too. Like, there’s a connection between the mind and the body and it’s powerful one and and movement and exercise can help strengthen that connection. Right? Physical activity can help us become more present, more mindful, more in our bodies in that moment, which can help us in turn manage our stress and manage our anxiety. Mind body exercises, particularly things like yoga or tai chi, can also help us tuning into our breath, and breath work is super important in this in this space as well. And that helps us become more aware of our thoughts and our emotions. And this mind body connection can help us feel more in control of not only our physical health but more in control of our mental health as well. But there are barriers to this exercise too.
And part of part of the importance of of this and certainly in this podcast is to talk about the overcoming barriers to exercise. Right? So when we’re struggling especially struggling with our mental health, it could be really difficult to find the motivation to exercise or the motivation to do anything. Right? Sometimes, I know in the past when my depression has been really bad, it’s It’s been difficult for me to get out of bed, fellas. Put my shoes on. I go for a run. Right? Or go for swim, or go to boxing. Now I know that if I’ve done all those things, regardless of how I felt beforehand, I’ve never regretted it. Right? I’ve never regretted one of those sessions. You I always feel better at the end of it, but often is just getting myself, like, kicking myself up the ass to get me out of the door, which is the difficult part. And that’s not just me, you know, anybody who’s struggling struggling with mental health issues. It can be a real difficulty finding that motivation to exercise to get up and move. You got low energy, you lack of motivation, you feel self conscious about how you look and how you move, and all of those things are common barriers to exercise.
But it’s important to find ways to overcome these barriers, right, such as setting achievable goals. Measure you know, the same old stuff we always talk about. Let’s break it down into small goals. Let’s measure and and track our progress. Let’s sell right little winds. Finding someone to work out with or perhaps a group of people who you gel with and you all do the same thing, like group exercises. So just not not just an accident that’s so huge in the world down and one of some of the biggest exercises in business brands, a group exercise that’s because it works. And people really wanna do it, you know, or or, you know, seeking out professional health, through a personal trainer, through an exercise physiologist, through a therapist, whatever it might be to get you more in the mood of that and and more likely to do that stuff is is important.
It’s also helpful to remember that exercise doesn’t have to be intense and time consuming. Right? Even a ten minute walk around the block. You take the dog around the block two times. Whatever it is, that movement can have a really positive effect on mental health. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, you don’t have to be wringing and sweat and absolutely buggered. You just have to move. And for a lot of people, you know, walk to walk around the block or whatever, can be a real stress. Like, that can be a real challenge. And but I know, you know, also that if they’re able to do that physically, once they do it, they they generally always always feel better.
So how do you incorporate the movement into data life is another challenge. Right? In incorporating it into your life every day can be a great way to support your mental health, but it also can be really challenging. But, you know, small things like Now if I have to go if I go to the shops, right, then I’ll park my car a long way away. So I have to walk those extra steps. Let me not long way away. But, you know, at the end of the car park rather than try and look for the one at the front door. You know, things like that. Sometimes if I’m if I’m going to Woolleys, I’ll park up near calls. Like, it’s a long know, it’s just incorporating a bit more movement into my into my daily activities, you know, is is has been really helpful for me and and I know that in the in my clients who I talk to this about the stuff about, you know, helps them too.
Small things. Right? Like, taken the stairs instead of the elevator. Or instead of the, you know, the what do you call that thing? The moving walk right? The travel ladder. Right? Take the stairs. There’s always stairs option.
Doing a quick kind of a big a quick stretch or a quick bit of yoga in the mornings when you first sort of wake up. All those things can help boost your mood and reduce your stress. Right? It’s also helpful to find activities that you enjoy that fit into daily routine. So, you know, if you love to dance, then try taking a dance class or dancing around your living room or your kitchen for ten minutes each day. Kitchen dancing is hugely beneficial. I can tell you personally from that. It’s great for your mental health. It’s great for your movement. It makes you feel good. Lots of dopamine. It’s it’s nice. Right? And no one can see how dag you are as a dancer, which is fun too. But the key here really is to find ways to move your body that feel good and that you can realistically maintain over time. Right? So all of those things I think go towards creating a boost in that mind body connection. All of those things point to how important it is for us to move, for our physical and our mental health.
So there was quite a few kind of surprising things I found when I was researching for this beside. One of them was that exercise, no matter what that exercise is, can have a protective effect on our brain. So regular exercise has been shown lots of different studies, which I looked at. To promote the growth of new brain cells, neurogenesis. It’s called in in my uni course that I my union that I just did last trimester. And this the the new brain cells grow in the part of the brain called hippocampus, which is a region in the brain you added with memory and learning. So it’s just that that link suggested exercise may help protect the brain against cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia or Parkinson’s. Or, you know, whatever. So that protective effect is really, really important.
And now there’s there’s some really interesting studies and interesting work going on at the moment. Studying the link in in contact sports like rugby league and rugby union on CTE like the chronic concussion and and neuro justice and the and the links between those two things and how exercise or or differing the changing them out. Somebody exercises after they’ve been a a full contact athlete, but sometimes he’s having some effect on the neurogenesis on creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus. So you know, to to stop the the fade away that people have in this chronic CTA or this chronic concussion that can be really debilitating and and and ages people a lot before they need to. So that’s the first thing, exercise has a protective effect. Right?
And also, might be as effective as medication for treating depression. Right? So there was this paper written in two thousand sixteen. Was a meta analysis. And again, that’s just a collection of large different studies put together into one study. And it found that exercise was as effective as medication for treating depression in adults. Right? Now now that finding is significant because many people are hesitant to take medication due to lots of things, feeling weak, potential side effects, perhaps, or concerns about getting dependent or addicted to those things. So if there is just as much effect as on medication, if exercise can produce the same result without having to actually have any medication, then then great. Right? But The point is not to dump your medication and just exercise like a damon, but those two things working in conjunction as adjunct to each other can be really, really beneficial.
Speaking of addiction, exercise can help with addiction recovery. Exercise, you know, has been shown to reduce drug and alcohol cravings and improve the mood of individuals in recovery from addiction. It can also help reduce the risk of relapse by promoting healthy coping mezzanine mechanisms. Right? So it helps people cope better to be increased self aware and increase self compassion. Provide a sense of accomplishment and self efficacy. Right? So all these things work. In conjunction to make someone feel less likely to relapse because all their boxes are being ticked by other things. That being exercise and movement and self esteem and, you know, all the things that that we who have been, I think that at some point, are lacking. So that’s that’s a very good thing. Right?
Exercise and sleep is an interesting thing. The exercise can improve sleep quality. Now, obviously, you know, you sort of think, well, yeah, if I go in and run a marathon, I’m gonna sleep pretty well that night. But I’m talking more like regular exercise, which has been shown to improve the quality of the sleep, not the quantity, but actually how well you sleep, which obviously has, in turn, has a positive effect on mental health as well. So getting enough high quality sleep is crucial for maintaining mental wellness and can help reduce symptoms of, again, pressure and anxiety are the mood disorders. Sleep is super important and it’s almost always the thing that most of my clients are completely neglecting in their life on not doing so well at. So if we can improve sleep quality as well as probably the amount of sleep we’re getting, then great exercise works for all of that.
One really surprising thing that that I found in in a few different studies that were recent too was exercise can improve executive function. So executive function means like this this your skill set of cognitive skills that are essential for goal directed behavior. Right? So things like planning. Decision making, self control, behavioral stuff like that. Right? Is is all your executive function. And there’s, you know, different psychological psychological disorders which you which attack your executive function and then you don’t plan very well. You don’t make great decisions. You don’t have any self control. Right? So that exercise has been shown to improve that regular exercise especially, improves your executive function in both children and adults actually, which can have positive effects on schooling, academic, and occupational performance. As well as mental health. Things like childhood and adult, ADHD, is is a result of an impaired exec fee function. Some in some place. And that can also be boosted by boosting your exercise. So That’s a positive thing too, especially if when there is a distinct link between ADHD add on ADHD and addiction if we can head those two things off in the one. Stone, then great. Right?
Exercise can reduce inflammation. There This might seem weird because, you know, I went for a big run a couple of days ago and my knees are very, very inflamed since, but I’m not talking about that kind of information. Like, chronic inflammation, which is being linked to a range of physical and mental health problems, including, again, depression, anxiety, mood disorders. Exercise being shown to reduce the inflammation throughout the body, right, which can help improve your mental health outcomes. So it’s inflammation of joints, sure, but it’s also inflammation in soft tissue, organ inflammation, you know, all over your body, all throughout your body. And that chronic inflammation can be reduced the more regularly you exercise.
It can improve your body image. Right? Exercise can improve body image and self esteem and people of all ages and all body types. You don’t have to be, you know, Arnie, and you don’t have to be elming first and there’s two very twenty twenty. Throw your references. You know, you don’t have to be have a beautiful body. You never think you’ll want that beautiful body, but it just improves your body image. How you feel about your body, how you feel about your body in the world. Not not how other people feel about it or other people feel I didn’t care about that. This is important about how you feel about your own body and how your body moves and how it looks.
And it’s especially important for individuals who may struggle with things like body dysmorphere, you know, where where you see and feel your body very different to how it actually is to the majority of other people, things like eating disorders, or any other sort of body image concerns that can really negatively impact your mental health. Exercise works well with that. Now, obviously, in some eating disorders. Hyper exercise, like like over exercising is another issue, but, you know, is obviously a bit concerned too, so it has to be some balance there. But generally speaking, exercise, it helps to improve your body image. And then finally, most importantly, maybe exercise improves your social connections. Right? Engaging in exercise and physical activity with others, can help improve your social connection, combat social isolation, make you want to actually get out of the house, why don’t you want to actually be around other people, which is, you know, if you’re isolated socially, that’s a significant risk factor report mental health outcome. That’s proven over and over and over again. It’s particularly important for older adults. Who are a greater risk for social isolation, a greater risk of loneliness. Right? So any kind of movement that that means you come together with others who are similar or like minded or similarly isolated is a positive thing, a very very positive thing. Okay.
Let’s talk about the academic paper this week. The academic paper this week is a peer reviewed study entitled x size and mental health during the COVID-nineteen pandemic across sectional study of online social media users. It was published in twenty twenty one, in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Now the COVID part is just the time frame. So don’t play too much into that. Right? It’s just the time that this paper was was done with a cross sectional study. So it looked at, you know, looked at a a a large audience and took parts out of that audience and highlighted some parts of it. And it studies the examine between yeah.
It studies the relationship between exercise and mental health during the pandemic using data collected from online social media users, so people were using Facebook, Twitter, and stuff. And the authors of this paper found that regular exercise was associated with better mental health outcomes. Right? As you might expect after everything I’ve just said, including lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. But this is the key part. So they also found that engaging in physical activity with others, so group training things, team environments, team sports, training in a gym while other people were there, not while you were the only one there at three o’clock in the morning. That’s important.
Enduring, obviously, during COVID, that was difficult and there was barriers around that. But when people do engage in physical activity with others, even virtually. So even, you know, remember in the pandemic, we have a less virtual exercise, so things aren’t doing that. But even doing that, with other people or in the same endeavor, right, together, was associated with greater benefits of a mental health. That’s crazy to me that just including somebody else. And it was something like six or seven times more likely. Six or seven fold the the effect. If you’re exercising with someone else, then exercising a lot.
And so the paper sort of shows and and gives really valuable evidence for the benefits of exercise on mental health during a challenging time and really supports the argument about the importance of exercise on mental generally at any time. But I’ll I’ll put the link to the paper in the in the show notes. It’s it’s it’s easy to read. It’s it’s worth a little look at I think because it’s really yeah, it’s it’s really powerful stuff that says, you know, and I thought that was a really interesting part too that that when people could go back in the gym and they were still choosing to go o’clock in the morning, three o’clock in the morning when they knew no one was gonna be there or midnight or whatever. Right? They were getting less benefits for their mental health than if they went at five or six PM. Or seven AM when the place was packed with other people where when that’s where the real benefit of this the mental health benefits came through. So yeah, so I’ll leave the the link to the to link that paper in the show notes and you can check it out.
Alright. And I’m gonna finish then with how many have I got? Ten tips, ten tips today on how to or what you can do this week actually take away from listening to this and go, okay, how am I gonna change my life this week in terms of how much I exercise and and how that affects my mental health. Right? I wanna be able to give you some takeaway stuff every time you listen to one of these episodes so that it’s not just me banging on and you doing nothing. These are things that you can, you know, practical realistically practical tips you can you can take and and put them in some use. Right? So the first one is to start small. Well, first one is to start really, but secondly then as an extension of that to start small. So if you’re new to exercise or you haven’t exercised for a long time, you fallen out of that routine and, you know, you’re just not used to moving as much as you used to be or have ever. Then just start with a few minutes of physical activity each day. Gradually increase your time and intensity over that time.
So you know, a client of mine who has some has a panic disorder that we’ve worked on for a long time. And has a bit of agrophobia. So not a bit, has agrophobia. And finds it very difficult to go outside. His house, far less go to the gym, he would like that that’s a bridge too far right now. But we’ve been working on him just getting to the and, you know, he’s he’s put on a favorite away, and he’s fairly a mobile, and it’s difficult for him to ambulate. It’s difficult for him to live daily at the moment. But we’ve got him to the front door. Now we’ve got to be on the front steps. Now we’ve got into the letter box. Right? And and I know that doesn’t sound like very much unless you hear me, which is huge. And it’s something that we’ve celebrated a long way because as I’ve always said, and you’ve heard me a few times now, if you listen to this podcast, you know, make small goals. Track your progress, celebrate little wins, and that’s really especially important for him. So start small, and then just increase over time. If you can, And if you need to, you know, sometimes the the small start is just enough. Right? But if you if you attack it straight away, there’s a very much higher likelihood that you’re gonna burn out and hate it at any time soon. So, yeah, that’s what I would suggest is just starting as small as you can and seeing what you get from that.
Number two, find something you enjoy. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. It should be fun. Right? Find an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s dancing, hiking, going for walk, boxing, swimming, playing a sport. Running who thought that would be enjoyable, but it has been. And make it a regular part of your routine. Right? Just really incorporate more and more and more of the stuff you love without putting yourself through the slog of forcing yourself to do shit your hate. Like, you’re gonna give up on that pretty quick. Alright? So I’d really support you to try and find something you really enjoy and just keep going after that.
Number three. Set goals, small realistic, measurable goals. Right? Setting specific achievable goals. Can help you stay motivated and can track your progress. Super important to track your progress. Right? Whether running a certain distance, three k, five k, twenty one k, or lifting a certain weight. Having a goal in mind can help you stay focused. Right? And celebrate little wins along the way. Really really important to do that.
Number four is to use technology. There’s countless apps and fitness trackers available that can help you monitor your progress and stay on track. Right? Consider using my fitness pal or the Garmin connect, whatever it might be to some sort of wearable device, if that’s your thing, to help you stay accountable and be motivated. Can even things like what you listen to, how you listen to if you listen to podcasts, if you listen to music, whatever. When you’re when you’re moving, how are you doing that? What’s in your ears? Are they around your ears? Are they sweat proof? All those sorts of things? Are really, you know, really important for you a long journey of doing this stuff.
Technology also is things like, you know, AI, like chat GPT. The other day I was I was running and one of the songs that came into my shuffle was every little thing she does is magic by the police. And as I was running, as it was playing, it was exactly the right beats per minute from my feet at to be running the pace that I wanted to run at. And then a different song came on and I was sort of thrown off a little bit, but I just remembered that. So when I came back, I I sit down to Checkatrade by ten and I put into the AI engine. Can you how many first of all, how many bytes per minute is everything every little thing she does is magic by the police. It says, oh, it’s eighty two bytes per minute. So I said, alright, can you this is me speaking to the AI. Can you create a Spotify playlist with a hundred songs that are eighty two b’s per minute. Yep. By me by me. Here they are. And I was and then I was as it was spit noise out, I’m like, oh, now I’m gonna have to search every one of these and make a play at the bottom, it said so you can just search for Spotify running playlist, songs that are eighty two beats per minute created by a chat GPT or something like that. And when I put that into Spotify, the playlist was already there. Pretty great. Right? So think about, you know, how you can use the modern technology. You guys sound like my dad. Use the modern technology to make things easier if you to make things more achievable and to make your exercise effort more sustainable and increase the longevity of that.
Number five. Make it social. Exercising with others can help you stay motivated, build social connections, and it works in in learning stress. And and decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety. As I mentioned, making it social is extremely important. Think about joining a fitness class, a group training thing, a team, a boxing gym that has a good atmosphere like mine. Or inviting a friend to join you for a workout, getting getting somebody else so that you both get a benefit from it individually and together. As a team. Making it social works, and I can’t stress that highly enough. The science backs it again and again and again making it social works.
Number six, incorporate movement throughout the day in your everyday daily activities. Right? Even if you can’t dedicate full hour to exercise or something. Try to incorporate movement throughout your day. Take the stairs. Like, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, take the stairs. I don’t mean fourteen flights of stairs. But if there’s, you know, if you come out of Kohl’s and you carry in shopping bags and your car has already a little way away from where where it could be right at the door. And you’ve got the option to go down the travel aid or go down the stairs, get down the stairs. Same with going up to your car. Whatever it might be, try and take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk during your lunch break. Do some stretching exercise and sitting at your desk. Google desk yoga. Like, there’s lots of different things that we can do. To incorporate movement throughout the day that’s not obvious, it’s not difficult, but what it does is just boost our self esteem and boost the endorphins throughout a a long working day as well. She’s great. Right? And and it actually is going to help you in the long run.
Number seven, never thought you’d get through podcasts without me mentioning this practice mindfulness. Incorporating mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, meditation into your exercise routine and help reduce stress, anxiety, improve your overall mental health. My fullness is things like I can hear the the tempo of every little thing she does as magic and I know my feet are going in time with that. I’m mindful that. I’m in the present moment. There’s no way I can escape that. That’s what I mean of that sort of stuff. Right? And and meditation doesn’t have to be sitting cross legged with your eyes closed going, right? Meditation is thinking inwardly of the of the situation there and not now being present in the moment. All of those things are really powerful and really easy. Right? Once you start doing it, I swear to God, it’s really easy, but it’s getting into that. That’s that’s difficult.
Often with the mindfulness or the meditation, one of the barriers to it is that people think they have to have a silent brain have a quiet brain. Now, I don’t have a quiet brain. And if I’m gonna wait until my brain is quiet, before I can meditate, I’ll never meditate. So what I’ve gotten used to is instead of thinking, okay, if we have to have silence, it’s just turning down the volume a bit enough for me to be in the present moment, enough a bit not to be distracting. Right? What can I hear? What can I see? What can I feel? What can I smell? These things that are around me that put bring me back to the present moment helps. Right? And in an exercise environment, it’s exactly the same.
Number eight. Mix it up. Variant. Right? Doing the same exercise routine day after day will become boring and you will quit. You’re a human being, we don’t like that. Mixed it up by trying new activities, switching up new routine, training a different time, training a different gym. Just keep things interesting and challenging. Right? Don’t swim in the same pool all the time. Don’t walk around the same block all the time. Even if it’s the same block, walk the other way. Change things. See if you can mix it up and and keep it fresh and change things around so that you are less likely to quit because it’s boring and you’re over it. Right? So mixing it up means the more variety means, the more exercise means, more improvement to your mental health.
Number nine, this isn’t possible for everyone but get outside. Right? As much as you can, spending time in nature outside has been shown to have numerous benefits of mental health. Just in terms of the neurogenesis stuff we were talking about before, the new brain cells being created in the hippocampus. There’s there’s lots of studies around greenery. Around being near water and green things near water trees, right, in parks, reserves, things like that that can really help produce more neurogenesis. So if if for no other reason, get outside say you’ve got a chance to get some protective factors to your brain. Try to incorporate outdoor activities like walking, riding by gardening even. Right? Going to the beach, sitting to the beach, and doing a meditation at the beach if you can. There you go. You got two different things going on three. If you gotta walk to the beach or walk from your car at least. So if you improve these things so include these things into exercise routine, then It’s obviously much much more beneficial for you as well.
Number ten, and the last one is to be patient and kind to yourself. Important to remember that building a regular exercise routine is gonna take time, it’s gonna take effort. You’ve gotta be patient with yourself. You’ve gotta set little goals. You gotta track your progress. You gotta celebrate your successes. And don’t get discouraged too much by setbacks. Right? Unless you’re an Olympic athlete, you need to adjust your expectations. Around, you know, not being an Olympic athlete. So, you know, for me, I can see how quickly someone can run ten Ks. I can’t do that. At the moment, I can run ten k’s but not quick. Right? Which I couldn’t run ten k’s a month ago. So, you know, these things are important to to establish your own goals, manage your own expectations, and celebrate your successes along the way of that. Don’t get too discouraged when things go wrong. Or go wrong. When things, you know, you don’t achieve the whole lofty expectations you’ve given yourself.
Remember that any amount of movement and exercise is beneficial for your mental health. Any. Right? Remember, oh, mate. Walk into the letter box. That that boosted our whole week together. Right? Our his whole week of therapy and recovery boosted greatly by being able to walk to the litter box, something he hadn’t been able to do for two and a half years. That is huge. Right? Doesn’t have to be run-in the marathon. Right? Or doesn’t have to be competing for a world championship. It has to be movement. That you enjoy. That hopefully is with other people around. Right? And that you can track and you can set goals for that are realistic. You can track your progress through that and you can celebrate your little wins.
I know personally how much exercise and movement has been able to help me in my life just recently. Right? Having lost, you know, thirty two kilos in the last sort of six months and and now all of a sudden running, you know, over twenty k’s and and and do you wanna Not easily. That’s not true. But, you know, doing a lot easier than I thought I’d ever be able to. And all of those things boost my body image, they boost my self esteem. They reduce my stress. They reduce my the likelihood of me being affected by my depression, my anxiety, my complex PTSD that I live with. All of this stuff is reduced by exercise. Like a fucking magic trick. Right? That it’s that it’s available to all of us. Walking around the block, if you can walk, and if you can move, and if you can get outside, it’s available to all of those people who can do that.
Now I know there’s challenges for a lot of people and they can’t get outside, or they they’re not able to, or they can’t move, or they’re whatever. Right? And there’s there’s lots of different ways we can adjust that. But for the great majority of us, it’s just a matter of being able to set some goals. And motivate ourselves enough to get out of it.
So I’ve given you ten of those ten tips of if you take one of those tips in this week after you listen to this podcast, and put it into your routine, I’m sure you gotta change your life. I mean, it’s as simple as that. And I’d really love to hear some feedback yeah, from you. If you’ve done these things or if you have any benefit from these podcasts or these podcasts, especially then please send us a message. You can leave a voice message and it might be played on the upcoming episode.
Give me any sort of feedback from from your own exercise and how exercise has helped you and affect your own positive mental health positively. I’d love to hear that. But for the rest of us, I really just employ you just to move tomorrow. Right? See if you can get some exercise into your daily routine tomorrow. Take the stairs. And, yeah, hopefully, we’re working towards being, you know, the very, very best version of ourselves as we can be. See if you can move tomorrow, see if you can get someone to move with you. Right? Let’s make some a serious difference in this a serious dent in the world. But yeah, no matter what you’re doing, I really appreciate your listening to this. I’d really love any sort of contact from you to suggest topics in the future or give me some feedback or ask any questions you like, and I can research them hell out of it and create a podcast around that for the next one or whatever. So let me know. But otherwise, Just keep moving. Just keep trying to be the best way for me. Just putting one for it in front of the eye. And I’ll talk to you nicely.
Thank you for listening to this episode of the reboot, your theme and podcast. I really appreciate your support, and I am stoked to have you as part of my audience on here. If you like what I’m doing here, please think about leaving a comment or giving me a five star review on whatever you are stay tuned to me on. It really helps and I’ll be really grateful to you. And follow me I am @nickbowditch across all the socials or you can visit my website at nickbowditch.com. Send me a voice message or any questions you would like to answer, and you could be featured in an update coming episode. This track is good person by the pop wins, incidental music also supplied by soul pride music. And please remember it’s okay to seek help and support. If anything I’ve talked about today has resonated with you or brought up any concerns, please reach out to a mental health professional or a trusted support system. If you are in Australia, please call lifeline one thirteen eleven fourteen, you don’t have to go through it all.