The Hope Molecule represents an effective way we can feel good during trying times, all we have to do is move our bodies. With the amount of perversive uncertainty around the globe right now, taking steps every day to monitor and improve our mental state is essential for fighting off depressive states, hopelessness, and emotional instability. It’s absolutely OK to not be Ok right now, and thankfully there are a range of resources at our disposal to help us stabilise and improve our mental health.
Of those resources, the most fascinating and quickest to implement into your lifestyle is daily movement through exercise. You may have heard that exercise can help boost our mood and improve cognitive function, however the ‘why’ behind this boost to our metal state provides and extremely compelling case for exercise as a supplementary remedy to depression.
Our muscles act as an endocrine system, which essentially means they are a big pump producing and secreting hormones which are utilised by the body in a range of different ways. These hormones and proteins are needed by our bodies to function at an optimal level. It’s widely acknowledged that they are produced to help fight off cancer cells, improve heart health and regulate our metabolism
In addition to this, our muscles secrete hormones that are wildly beneficial for our brain health. These hormones specifically (known as Hope Molecules) target stress hormone receptors to make us more resilient to stress and induce feelings of elation to combat depression, or in other words, our muscles literally produce anti-depressant molecules. The only thing we have to do to access these molecules is contract our muscles through movement. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, any kind of exercise at all, and these hormones are pumped into our bloodstream and delivered straight to our brain.
This hormone release is a biological relic form times when our survival was dependant on our ability to move, to hunt and to gather. Our brains released a ‘happy high’ to reinforce our survival instincts ie. Running and hunting all day was how we are able to put food on the table, so reinforcing that behaviour with a natural high will make us want to do it again, even if we’re not consciously aware of it.
Whatever the origins of this evolution may be, it’s effects can be felt by all of us and put to use in a practical way.
TIPS ON GETTING STARTED
For some of us, exercising and being active comes naturally. For a lot of us though, exercise can be daunting prospect. I always say that “we don’t have to be athletes now we’re over 50, but we do have to do some form of physical activity every day.
The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week, with an additional two sessions of strength training to help maintain optimal fitness levels. Following this guideline has shown an overall improvement in quality of life and is key to preventing and managing chronic disease and is an excellent starting point for those just setting out on their fitness journey.
I’ve converted this formula into a free 7 day challenge! If you follow this challenge, you’ll be meeting these requirements easily. Click here to access.
Below are some tools you can us when getting started to help you stick with exercise for longer.
It can be disheartening to not get results right away. Stick with it and keep consistent with your workout routines and the results will come over time. Slow and steady wins the race.
SET REGULAR AND REALISTIC GOALS
A sure-fire way to become disillusioned by exercise is to set unrealistic goals for yourself. Setting a goal to lose an insane amount of weight in a short period of time is unrealistic and can lead to feelings of failure and giving up quicker when not achieved. Similarly, setting a goal and then achieving it without anywhere to go next can be detrimental to progress. Consistently setting yourself new milestones and celebrating the wins along the way will help you to stay on track for longer. Progress is progress, and as long as you are just 1% better today than you were yesterday, you’re already winning.
MAKE EXERCISE HABITUAL
Repetition breed retention, and this goes double for exercise. Keeping consistent with your workout schedule will over time make it second nature, and before you know it you won’t be thinking twice before gearing up to workout.
THE HOPE MOLECULE IN CONCLUSION...
Exercise has proven to be an effective tool for eliminating depression, anxiety, stress and in boosting mental clarity through the release of the Hope Molecule. Our bodies are hardwired to push us through and reinforce positive feeling towards exercise to help us make it a habit.
It’s not always easy getting started but keep consistent and diligent and over time your hard work will be rewarded with tangible results, not just of the mind but, the body as well.
We’ve created a free 12-week maintenance program that gives you a way to hit all your weekly exercise requirements. This program has been designed to take all the guesswork out of your workouts. All the work is done for you, you just have to show up and start moving. Click here to access now!