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Fitness & Health

13th May 2019

The best workouts for fighting stress, according to top personal trainers

Exercise is as beneficial for your mind as it is the body. Experts from a mental health charity and gym chain told us which workouts are best for stress

Alex Roberts

Working out can be as beneficial for your mind as it can the body

Exercise is a hugely useful tool for improving your mental health and reducing the impact of stress.

For Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May), experts from Anytime Fitness and charity Mind have teamed up. They have revealed the three best forms of exercise for smashing stress and boosting your mental health.

Marvin Burton is Head of Fitness at Anytime Fitness UK and and Hayley Jarvis is Head of Physical Activity at Mind.

1. Walking outside

Burton: “Hard exercise can often add to stress with cortisol release, so I’d traditionally recommend more passive forms of exercise. A walk in the great outdoors can be a fantastic way to fight stress.”

Jarvis: “Outdoor exercise can be particularly beneficial and research suggests it can actually be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. The colours, sounds and smells we find outdoors stimulate our senses and being in regular social contact with people can help boost your self-esteem and reduce loneliness.”

2. Running

Burton: “For those who benefit from time to themselves, a solo activity such as running might work better. Running is a hugely rewarding exercise format where you can easily track progress and improvement.”

Jarvis: “Running can provide a great escape from your everyday routine and allows you to focus, strive and achieve a personal goal. In terms of accessibility, it’s hard to beat running and the ability to put on a pair of trainers and head out the door.”

3. Group exercise

Burton: “As well as the camaraderie, having the opportunity to speak to people and be social as you work out can deliver huge benefits. For people that have a hectic lifestyle, valuable time seeing others and combining the benefits of social and physical activity are hugely rewarding. Talking about your problems is a great way to improve your mental health.”

Jarvis: “A group activity might be best for you if you value the boost of a strong social element. There are hundreds of group activities you can do. You’re also more likely to keep doing it if it’s fun and you enjoy the company of those around you.”

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