You’re probably well aware that exercise and working out can do a lot for your mental health. In reality, however, that’s only true if you can fit exercise into your life comfortably. This means you may need to put some thought into what really works for you. Here are some tips to help.
Understand the basics of exercise
All exercises ultimately fit into one or more of three categories. These are cardio, flexibility, and strength. If you’re really keen on a particular sport then you may benefit from prioritizing one of those categories. In general, however, it’s advisable to have a balanced mixture of them.
You also need to make sure to fit in a suitable percentage of rest days. As a rule of thumb, the more vigorously you work out, the more often you should rest. If your workouts are serious cardio, you may want to rest every other day. If, however, they’re more gentle cardio, flexibility, and/or strength, then every three to five days is usually fine.
Remember that rest days are actually days when your body repairs itself. This means that it is actually working very hard. It, therefore, needs to be suitably fuelled, especially with protein. This doesn’t mean you have to eat heavy meals if you don’t want to. There are lots of healthy, protein-filled snacks and treats available, for example, Muscle Nation custard.
The psychology of exercise
The more you enjoy exercise, the more likely you are to do it. This means that the best exercises for you tend to be the ones that match up with your general preferences. These may change and it’s fine if your exercise changes with them.
For example, you may love being outdoors in spring and fall but not in summer and winter. Instead of trying to fight that and implement a single, all-year-round exercise routine, just roll with it. Exercise outdoors as much as you can in spring and fall and go indoors in summer and winter.
Other factors you should consider are whether you prefer to exercise in a group or alone and whether you prefer to be engaged or zone out. Again, the answers to these questions may be “it depends”. That’s absolutely fine. Just make sure that you have a selection of options to suit your preferences at any given time.
The practicalities of exercise
If you enjoy going to a gym and you have the money for it then by all means do so. If, however, you don’t or it’s not convenient, then there are still plenty of options for you. Even if you have no space and no money, you can still work out. You’d be more limited in your options. In particular, you’d have to restrict your strength training to bodyweight exercises.
If you have any space or budget at all, then you have options for varying your workouts. In fact, you might be surprised just how much you can do with minimal equipment. Even if you can just afford a set of resistance bands, you can give yourself a whole lot more options for strength training.