Tagged as: Gym

Your Mental Health + Fitness During a Pandemic.

“If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.”

– Dr. Robert Butler, National Institute on Aging

Okay, so this is a HUGE topic…. I think it is the most important one I’ve ever had the opportunity to blog about.  I can tell you with confidence from personal experience, client testimonials and the steady flow of new research being done that fitness and exercise has a profound impact on mental health. 

The year 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least. If you’ve felt the effects of Covid-19 on your mental and physical health you’re not alone.

You may have seen your regular fitness fall through the cracks as the pandemic has forced many of us to work from home, or the unfortunate fact that your favourite group fitness studio or recreational team sports have come to a halt.  Many people have experienced weight gain because of this – the dreaded “Covid-15”! More on that later.. 

It’s safe to say that with the added stress and feelings of uneasiness around the pandemic plus the lack of regular exercise many people have been experiencing higher than normal rates of anxiety and depression. A recent poll done by the Angus Reid Institue a Canadian foundation for independent research,  states that 50% of Canadians reported worsening mental health since the pandemic began with many feeling worried (44%) and anxious (41%).  

Okay! Enough with the dreary stats already! Here’s a sunnier one:

A recent study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health states that walking for an hour or running for just 15 minutes can decrease your odds of becoming depressed by 26%.  We like this stat.

What Can Exercise do for Your Mental Health

  • Getting your heart rate up changes brain chemistry, increasing the availability of important anti-anxiety brain chemicals, including serotonin. 
  • Serotonin is just one of the brain chemicals responsible for your happiness. Exercise, especially getting the heart rate up can get these chemicals flowing intentionally! 
  • Exercise activates the frontal region of the brain and amygdala.  The frontal lobe of your brain is responsible for cognitive skills like problem solving, emotions and memory. In turn this helps control the amygdala, the part of the brain where emotions are processed.
  • Exercises increases your body’s production of endorphins and serotonin – see above. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and stress. 
  • Exercise can offer a break from negative thoughts that feed drepression.  
  • Moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious.
  • A consistent fitness regime can have you feeling accomplished and with an overall sense of well-being. 
  • Exercise can promote all kinds of changes in the brain. This includes neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm. 

The Canadian Association of Mental Health states that is very likely and even okay to feel worried and have some stress about the current situation.  Along with staying in touch with loved ones and seeking formal help from a professional if needed they highly recommend exercise, sleeping and eating well to support your mental health. 

Fitness as your Community

One of my favourite things I heard a client mention the other day was that when living in isolation due to the pandemic just the act of coming to the gym and saying hello to friendly familiar faces has been a game changer for her! Beyond fitness goals, community allows us to find a sense of belonging. It’s what can support us through some difficult moments

Training during a Pandemic

As mentioned above, the dreaded “Covid-15” has become a topic now too – the average weight gain during a quarantine is 3-15 lbs! Yikes! Thankfully Rep 1 Fitness is still operating with very safe Covid protocols in place.  If you need help with your fitness right now – or if you think a loved one needs some motivation (Hey a gift card for personal training is a fabulous holiday gift idea!) contact us

You already know that exercise is good for your body, but more and more research is telling us it can have a positive impact on mental health as well. Even the most modest amount of exercise has shown to improve emotions, sleep, stress levels and can even help you cope with depression and anxiety!

Let’s aim for 30 minutes of continual exercise on most days of the week.. Or better yet 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like a brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Vigorous would be more like running, playing singles tennis or doing high intensity interval training. If you’re not sure where to start let one of us at Rep 1 help you! 

Fitness is one great tool that will help carry us through these dark winter months during a pandemic! 

Do I need a personal trainer?

TOP 5 REASONS TO GET A PERSONAL TRAINER:

  • PERSONAL TIME CONSTRAINTS
  • COMMITMENT
  • RESULTS 
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • MOTIVATION

All around Vancouver there are fit people running, biking, swimming, kayaking and just being the most dang fit city in North America!  Look around, whether it is the beach-side path in Kitsilano or across the water in the mountains of the North Shore, people are making the effort to stay healthy.  We are one of the most dedicated cities when it comes to fitness! So why would anyone in this overly-caffeinated, health-conscious town need a personal trainer? Time constraints, commitment, results and even an improved ability to do our favourite fitness pastimes!  And how about the knowledge base and motivation that a fitness professional brings to your hour of sweat?  Let’s cover all these reasons below and show you why you need to sign up with a trainer today.

           TIME CONSTRAINTS:

           People in Vancouver are busy!  The most fit city is also the most expensive… we need to pay to play.  So even if we get out on the weekend to climb mountains, cycle to Horseshoe Bay or get in a round of golf, our work/life schedules during the week make things terribly hectic.  Fitting in fitness can be hard.  With a personal trainer you get serious results for your time!  Once you have an assessment and a plan with your fitness coach, your workouts are streamlined.  The time you would personally spend making a plan for yourself is done, the areas of weakness are balanced during your workout, and your fitness goals are your coach’s focus!  Your personal trainer makes things easy (and hard) at the same time.

           COMMITMENT TO BEING FIT:

           Because all of us are so busy in Vancouver it can make our ongoing commitment to health and wellness irregular.  A personal trainer will give you a set, committed fitness time every week.  This is a set time in your schedule and build your life around it!  How many people do we know with gym memberships to places like Steve Nash Fitness facility that don’t use them on a regular basis?  Without that set exercise program, and set time with your trainer, your chances are low of getting the regular exercise you need. With a trainer you have to show up to your session… or else we call you!

           RESULTS:

           Are you looking to improve your triathlon time?  A trainer can help you strengthen your weaknesses and improve your result.  What about rehabbing an injury? Keep yourself on track by hiring a Kinesiologist to progress you through the injury.  Maybe you are just looking for general fitness, to lose weight, gain some cardio or weight strength… the best way to do this is to hire a professional fitness coach!  This is the person who will make you do the appropriate exercises for you!  Often we focus on the gym routines that we enjoy; a personal trainer will push your comfort zones and show you all types of exercise!  This is what will exceed your limits and make you progress!  The exercises you may not like could be the ones you need; your personal trainer will make you do them!  All of your favourite exercise past-times get easier when your training sessions are being directed by a coach because that is their job… make your life hard in the gym to make it easier outside the gym!!  

        KNOWLEDGE:

Your personal trainer will have a minimum of a training certification, and more than likely many more training specialties under their belt.  Whether it is a cardio exercise class or a weightlifting course they have taken, all of us fitness experts have to maintain our classroom knowledge year after year.  It is actually important for personal trainers to maintain their mental health and training game as they continue through their career. There are many benefits of this to you!  Instead of you personally trying to keep up with all the latest fitness trends and knowledge, your coach will do that for you… keeping your workouts fresh and fun!  

       MOTIVATION:

We all have those days where we don’t want to leave our bed and we definitely don’t want to workout; that is what your trainer is for!  Your upbeat fitness professional will take you through the good days and the down days.  When you walk out of your fitness facility after your training hour you will be feeling refreshed and energized… ready to face the day!  Not all trainers are ‘bounce off the walls’ motivating, that can be intimidating, but, again, they should be energizing enough to pick you up on your slower days.   

           As a gym owner you think it would be easy for me to get a workout in my day, but it’s not.  There is so much to do and get distracted by… so I have TWO trainers. Each one hits up a different style with me and we have progressed to a point where I enjoy the body I am seeing in the mirror once again.  Since committing to twice a week personal training I have seen amazing results, and I am a trainer myself!