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Exercise really does alleviate stress

What's really stopping you from getting fit, healthy and achieving the physique you desire?

We can all give countless reasons and muster up an endless supply of excuses for why we can't do something — whether it be exercise more, eat healthier or make better lifestyle choices.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say, ‘Now just isn't a good time for me to get fit'.

But the truth is, ‘now' really is the only time you have to work on yourself, to get stronger, fitter and healthier so you can have a better quality of life today, tomorrow and in the future. As clichéd as it sounds — and I hate clichés — there really is no time like the present!

I know we all have our bad days and low points, I'm not immune to these myself.

There have been moments when I've felt so useless, been in such a funk and depressed about a situation that all I've wanted to do is skip the gym, hibernate under a blanket on the couch and devour an entire tub of ice cream in an attempt to eat away my feelings.

As tempting as this is at the time, the reality is that none of this would actually make me feel any better; in fact in the long run, aside from probably feeling physically sick from the overindulgence, I know I'd feel guilty for giving in to my funky mood and trying to comfort myself with food.

The rational side of me knows that these actions won't make the source of my depression better, and it certainly won't solve my problems either.

When you feel like this, when you feel “stuck” and just the thought of working out is unappealing or daunting, I urge you to try to silence the excuses your head keeps conjuring up and commit to putting in just 15 minutes of exercise. I personally do this and it works.

I tell myself “Just start. Do 15 minutes and if you're still not feeling it after that, you can quit and leave”. And you know what, not once have I ever quit, in fact I usually end up having a great workout and leave the gym feeling far better than when I arrived.

This proves two things. Firstly, that physical movement is a very effective mood enhancer — so when you're feeling stressed, what better antidote is there? And secondly, that your mindset is a very powerful tool; just a few small tweaks to how you perceive exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle could be all that's holding you back from truly achieving your goals.

I know that working out isn't always an easy task, but small consistent steps with training will culminate over time and when you look back you'll be so grateful and impressed with how far you've come.

So really, what do you have to lose from exercising today?

Don't let feelings of being overwhelmed deter you from leading a fitter, healthier life.

Seek out the help of a trainer, recruit some friends to keep you accountable, find some fitness buddies, join an online fitness forum, there are so many avenues that can support you on your fitness journey. Remember, one step at a time, and even the smallest step is still a step forwards.

• Becky Wright is a qualified personal trainer, nutritional therapist and international bikini fitness champion. She has worked with clients worldwide, including royalty. Becky works at Alchemy Fitness. Contact: becky@alchemy.bm

No time like the present: As hard as it may seem when you're in a funk and feeling blue, even a little bit of exercise can put a spring in your step

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Published July 29, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated July 29, 2015 at 1:21 am)

Exercise really does alleviate stress

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