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4th-8th November is National Stress Week

but how much can exercise really help us manage stress and our wider mental health?

One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain's response to stress.

Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. For this reason, clinicians recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety use exercise as a coping mechanism. In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression. This can be any type of exercise. An outdoor gym is perfect being free to use and usually having a mixture of cardio, strength and balance equipment.

It is also more beneficial to take your workout outside. Various studies have demonstrated that outdoor exercise is much better for you then indoor exercise – inhaling fresh air rather recycled sir conditioned air must be much better for you! Also, there are the benefits of Vitamin D when exercising outdoors and the sun is out.

In terms of relieving anxiety, chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down. The better outcomes usually result from some moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise, which can reduce anxiety sensitivity. Outdoor gym cardio pieces can be perfect for this level of activities. Pieces like a cross trainer and double air walkers are great, as is interval training. See our previous blog on High Intensity Interval Training.

Stress can also impact our ability to sleep. Exercise can help with this too!  For some, a moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia. Moving around five to six hours before bedtime raises the body's core temperature. When the body temp drops back to normal a few hours later, it signals to the body that it is time to sleep.

Getting stressed at work? The solution might be just a short walk, jog or quick spin on an outdoor gym arm and pedal bike! Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. While busy schedules can make it tough to squeeze in a gym session in the middle of the day, some experts believe that midday is the ideal time for a workout due to the body's rhythms.

It has been said that exercise is the “magic pill” which helps us both with our physical and mental well-being. If undertaken regularly.  If you want to start your journey one option is to find one of our outdoor gyms – free and easy to use – find one today through our website of mobile app found on Google Play and App Store.

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