“It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigour,” said Cicero  and since then we have been flooded with both scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the mental benefits of exercise. A smiling Sera Shaw looks at how we can work out a way to happiness.

Anger management

Have you ever felt so angry that you want to punch something – or someone? Well the good news is, this angry energy can drive you to push your personal best when working out; plus having a good sweat can also help you feel less violent. “Basically, any exercise will make us feel better and help burn off some excess energy and tension,” says www.angermanagementexpert.co.uk.

The chemical lift

Any physical activity causes our body to release chemicals called endorphins. These react with the brain’s receptors to reduce the perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling akin to taking morphine. This is why regular exercise is a great way to combat depression. Bob Harper, celebrity trainer, says: “For me, working out is a form of therapy, it’s cathartic, it’s a good stress reliever. I know that when I go to the gym I am taking care of myself and I know I’ll feel so much better afterwards.”

Mind over matter

If you’re a natural worrier, you’ll know that it can take a lot to break the cycle of negative thinking, whether it’s about what you’ve done, what you’ve got to do, or even what you’re in the middle of doing. Taking a break from worrying may seem scary but it can help relax your head and get perspective on your fears. Matthew McConaughey is a believer in exercise for stilling the mind. He has said: “It’s no fun to sit down and talk about what exercise has to do with life. Go drip that sweat, run until we’re fatigued, to where the mind can’t ponder the past or the future.”

The great escape

We all need some alone time away from colleagues, friends and family. Indeed some quality me-time can help us to be better company and support for anyone who needs us.

Up productivity

When we’re overwhelmed by work and chores and have to do lists for our to do lists, the idea of fitting in a workout might be too much. But a recent study by researchers at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet compared the working habits of three different offices in the same industry. The conclusion? Those who exercised said they were more productive. The researchers said that “increased productivity comes, on the one hand, from people getting more done during the hours they are at work, perhaps because of increased stamina and, on the other hand, from less absenteeism owing to sickness.”

Wake up!

Tiredness is the enemy of stress and anxiety; when we’re sleepy it’s hard to think straight. Exercise can help to energise us; as well as waking us up it can help us get a better night’s sleep. Make sure you exercise at least four hours before you go to bed to give the energy boost time to wear off.

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