My love for fitness originally stemmed from the physical outcomes. Playing competitive sport from a young age, my focus was set on perfecting my routine, getting my body into the best possible shape to improve my athletic performance.
These days, I still remain motivated by the physical outcomes, but I’ve also developed a huge appreciation for the mental benefits as well. For me, physical exercise is no longer just about physical gain – it’s an essential component of self-care, reflection and self-discovery. It’s the quickest and most effective solution I turn to for boosting my mood, increasing my energy levels, letting go of stress or frustration, and allowing myself to unwind.
Too often, we’re tempted into quick fixes that offer some short-terms relief to our mental stresses. They may mask the symptoms for a short while, but they do nothing for fixing the problem (think alcohol, caffeine, binge eating, etc.).
Remember, your body is your most powerful asset. Our bodies are capable of amazing things – not only in the physical sense but also in our body’s ability to lift and support our mental wellbeing.
Here’s 5 easy tips for customising your workouts to improve your mood! So you can keep feeling and performing your best – in both your body and your mind.
Sweat out the stress
In times of stress, exercise is often the first thing to drop off the to do list. But making time for a quick sweat sesh can revamp your productivity and get you thinking clearer and more efficiently – saving you time and energy in the long run! Keep your sessions short, upping your reps and reducing your sets for circuit, or increasing your speed but reducing your intervals for cardio. Leave at least 10-15-minutes for a full body stretch at the end of your workout. Stretching is important after any exercise but especially when you’re mentally and physically stressed. Switch off from technology and concentrate on your breathing as you stretch out your muscles and relieve your body of tension.
Beat the blues
Managing just a 15-minute workout when you’re feeling down can be a struggle but your body and mind will definitely thank you for it if you do! High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the perfect mood booster for when you’re feeling bummed. Short enough not to be mentally draining but fast paced enough to get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing. Pick 6 exercise and complete each exercise as fast as you can with 30-seconds rest in-between. Complete 1 round and see how you feel – 1 round can easily turn into 2-4 rounds once you’re into the swing of things! But even 1 round is sure to leave you feeling that little bit brighter and more energised.
Tame those nerves
Whether it’s an important work meeting coming up or a special social event, giving your body a good cardio kick can help keep those nerves at bay. Hitting the treadmill or the pavement for a jog/run will help you to clear your mind and concentrate on the here and now. Keep your workout simple, opting for a steady pace. This will allow you to fall into an easy rhythm and help your mind to relax.
Keep those endorphins pumping
When you’re feeling great, you should want to keep feeling that way! Being happy puts you in a mindset of feeling better than average physically. This makes it the perfect time to switch up your fitness routine and push yourself that little bit further! Try incorporating a stability ball into your workout, add resistance bands to increase the strain, or complete your upper body exercises standing on one leg. These small challenges will get you working muscles you don’t normally work – putting your body and mind to the test and disrupting your standard routine.
Pump out your frustration
For the love of frustration – go heavy! Lifting weights, heavy weights, is the perfect way to blow off some steam and ease your frustrations. Keep your reps steady and calculated, take control of your workout and own the task at hand. Feelings of aggression can also cause us to feel physically stronger than we do normally – so if we’re talking mind over matter, you might even be able to lift heavier than you do usually. Now put that frustration to good use!
Wellness Director, Collective Wellness Group – Dan Conn
Dan Conn is a former NRL player and one of Australia’s most recognised health and fitness professionals. In 2017, Dan joined Collective Wellness Group (CWG) in the role of Wellness Director. This newly created position was designed to educate Australians around CWG’s ethos, prioritising mental health and recovery alongside a physical fitness routine. Dan’s role as Wellness Director sees him developing healthy body and mind initiatives across each of the CWG brands and visiting clubs to educate, train and support franchisees, coaches and members at a community level.