When I qualified as a personal trainer back in 2009, I knew that helping people to lose weight and look good in swimwear wasn’t enough; I wanted to help people improve their quality of life.
In 2011, I trained to become a GP Exercise Referral Specialist to help improve the health of my clients. Being fit was brilliant, but being fit and healthy was even better.
I trained to help people diagnosed with mental health, muscular, skeletal, endocrine, respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. I learnt how to control the conditions through exercise and saw the benefits of exercise first hand.
It is never easy talking about your mental health, particularly depression. The reason being that it is still a bit of a taboo subject.
“Does depression really exist?”
“Just snap out of it.”
“You’re not helping yourself.”
Depressive disorders are conditions that embrace a wide range of signs and symptoms that adversely impact the body physically, mentally and emotionally.
There are many causes of depression:
- Genetic disposition
- Environmental and social factors
- Early development experiences
- Low self worth
- Family relationships
It can be hard to find the energy to look after yourself if you are experiencing depressive thoughts, however there is increasing research and evidence recommending the use of exercise and activity to treat mild to moderate depression.
Increase your daily activity. This could be walking to the shop to pick up your paper, picking up a spade and start gardening or taking your children/grandchildren to the local park.
Join a group. Find a hobby that you enjoy and research local groups to join. For example; a book club, U3A or come along to a Herts Pumping Outdoor Exercise Class to boost endorphins and meet new people.
Set realistic goals. Set achievable goals such as “I will walk 20 minutes every day”, “I will get dressed and step out the front door daily” or “I will learn a new recipe”.
- Cardiovascular, muscular and flexibility training to be performed 3-5 days per week to help promote activity of daily life.
- Aim for 20-60 minutes, depending on fitness levels.
- Incorporate large muscle groups and train the whole body.
- Exercise examples; walking, running, swimming, cycling and circuit training.