There’s no denying that the energy crisis is unprecedented. It’s driving the cost of living but have you stopped to think about how it’s impacting your mental health?
Research shows that struggling to pay the bills could have a detrimental effect on our state of mind. And while we may feel helpless over issues such as fuel poverty and the rising cost of food, there are some steps we can take to protect ourselves.
Winter can be difficult as it is what with shorter daylight hours, lower temperatures and dark, gloomy nights. It’s easy to stay at home, but this could backfire, making us feel lethargic and lowering our mood and self-esteem. And that’s on top of everything else that is going on in the world. So this really is the time to keep active and embrace some form of exercise.
Luxurious Magazine’s Sabi Phagura caught up with Personal Trainer Omar Mansour to discuss the issue. Having competed as an 800m athlete and later obtaining a Sports Science degree, Omar says exercise is a great way to reduce the symptoms of low moods and even depression.
“It’s now becoming increasingly important to exercise in the face of rising energy bills this winter,” he said. “Regular exercise is shown to boost the immune system. For starters, exercise increases your heart rate, which pumps more blood around the body, giving oxygen to the lungs as well as other tissues. This response affects your lymph modes which contain white blood cells and other fluids. When your heart health is good, you have more energy for the day, and it’s easier to fight off colds and illnesses.”
Furthermore, exercise can help promote the movement of the immune system via white blood cells to more locations where viruses and bacteria are present. Omar says that these benefits are not just limited to the time one exercises but help create a presence of these immune cells for up to three hours after you stop working out. This allows immune cells to identify unwanted nasties and stop them in their tracks before developing into common winter illnesses such as cold, flu or covid.
Choose Something You Love
While we may not all follow the footsteps of Omar, who has trained under Great Britain coaches, there are activities we can all do to keep our physical and mental health in check. Omar says it’s better to start small and keep your body moving daily rather than go all in and risk giving up moving altogether.
There are numerous apps and websites to motivate you, including WithU’s new walking workouts. Just make sure you have the right shoes. Many hikers swear by the Merrell Moab 3 GTX, which features a GORE-TEX® waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry while still allowing your feet to breathe. They are comfortable, durable and versatile and great for walking.
We don’t need to tell you how unpredictable the weather is in the UK but being outdoors to get a dose of Vitamin D, as well as a mental and physical boost, can do wonders. The key is to layer up and have the correct gear to prevent any colds and sniffles. There are several outdoor garments, from waterproof and windproof jackets to hoodies and coats, to help keep you warm and dry.
A friend of mine who struggled to go out because he didn’t have the ‘right gear’ purchased the Men’s Platinum Peak™ Hooded Insulated Jacket. Fortunately, he stopped moaning during our buddy-up sessions, which was a result.
Get socialising while working out
But If the weather stops you from going outside and you need further motivation, there’s always the option of joining an indoor gym class. Not only will you be warmer and get fit, but exercising in a group brings about the social aspect of group exercising. Omar says the opportunity to meet new people and socialise at the same time can make exercise fun and alleviate the feelings of sadness, tiredness and lack of motivation the current financial crisis is bringing about.
While pushing ourselves to work out, Omar says it’s important to avoid getting injured in the process. Not only is it wise to get some guidance from a professional trainer, but investing in performance wear can help keep your body aligned and reduce injuries. If you’re prone to back pain, you may want to check out PERCKO.
The brand has developed a high-tech sports T-shirt that improves performance. The Lyne FIT, which uses patented wearable technology, is designed to reduce the risk of injury to your back and optimise your breathing during a workout, giving you the confidence and the extra edge to push yourself further. The French start-up arrived in the Uk a year ago.
Connecting the mind, body and soul
We all know that when the mind, body and soul are in harmony, we as individuals are in a much happier place and less stressed. That’s because all three are intricately connected on a deep physiological level. Activities such as meditation and yoga can go a long way to boost your mental health and keep stress and depression at bay.
As someone who struggled (like many) in lockdown, I turned to online Zoom classes delivered by Yoga Lounge Bournemouth. Not only did the classes provide much-needed structure to my day, but I also felt I was ‘socialising’ while social distancing through the live camera. I practice religiously to this day and am forever debted to owner Amber Fidler and her team, who supported and encouraged me virtually throughout one of the toughest times of our lives. So much so that since the world reopened, I have continued to practice online almost every day.
And unlike outdoor sports, you don’t need to get fancy expensive clothes. A pair of leggings and a top are all you need besides a yoga mat. But if you are looking for some great clobber as well as doing something for the planet, I can highly recommend Silverwind. Drawing inspiration from nature to create colourful, sustainable and stylish premium activewear and swimwear, the online retailer’s purpose is to inspire people to live sustainably. And right now, in these tumultuous times, we can collectively aim to make the world a better place from the inside out.
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