GYM & TONEIC

Endorphins: the best high you’ll ever have!

Credit: BBC http://bbc.in/1ZkGxrd

Endorphins – the legal high that’s backed and most definitely won’t be getting banned any time soon! Want to get high, euphoric, feel good AMAZING, de-stress, IMPROVE your health, fitness and general wellbeing? EXERCISE is the answer! It’s the miracle drug we’ve always had, but all too often people fail to take the recommended dose, and the effects of that can be fatal.

We know this… it’s not new news. So why is it that so many people are still missing out on this awesome high?

When you exercise your body releases endorphins ‘happy hormones’, morphine-based pain-relievers that are essentially like heroin… but so much BETTER… as an endorphin molecule is a hundred times more powerful! Note: I’ve never tried heroin! But that’s what the health experts say. When you take morphine, you feel dreamy and pain-free, this is what endorphins do too and that’s why people get addicted to exercise.

5 benefits of exercise

  • Relieves stress – healthy body, healthy mind. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress, a big motivator for me personally at the minute. It can also reduce risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Reduces risk of major illnesses – such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers by up to 50% and lowers your risk of early death by up to 30% (ref NHS).
  • Boosts self-esteem – get high on those happy hormones! Exercise boosts self-esteem and confidence, who doesn’t want to look and most importantly FEEL good.
  • Improves sleep – a biggie for me as I LOVE sleep. In my mind there’s nothing worse than a bad night’s sleep, I should be avoided at all costs if sleep deprived.
  • Increases energy levels – increasing your heart rate and working up a sweat will increase your energy levels. Activity fuels more activity!

There’s literally hundreds more!

Laziness fuels more laziness

It’s time to quit with the excuses… lack of time isn’t good enough! Make time, make the effort and you’ll reap the rewards. You are the one holding you back; you will be the one that suffers as a consequence.

Baby steps can lead to big changes!

What benefits do you get from exercise?

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Roll & relieve: benefits of using a foam roller

Foam roller meme

I’m not going to lie, the first time I used a foam roller in the gym I thought my back was going to snap. The love/hate I had for my PT reached new levels that day – it was a sure sign that my muscles were tight as hell and using one was long overdue.  

Despite initially regarding them as an instrument of torture, I sucked it up and continued to use it before and after workouts as advised.  I’m now a complete convert come preacher, and cannot recommend using one enough – to everyone and anyone who’ll listen. So much so, I bought my dad one for Christmas (he was less than impressed), but he’ll thank me one day!

Feeling ‘the burn’ after a workout is like a badge of honour, a sign you’ve trained hard and are getting stronger. However, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can hinder your training and increase risk of injury. I’ve learnt this the hard way over the years with numerous injuries (torn intercostal muscle THE worst!), because I didn’t stretch sufficiently or do any form of active recovery.

Self-myofascial release (self-massage) with a foam roller relieves tight muscles by smoothing out the knots and encouraging blood flow to the area, returning them to normal function. It hurts! But works… it’s uncomfortable but bearable and gets easier over time.  Rolling daily or 3/4 times per week could save you a fortune in physio fees if/when your muscles finally give in!

Here’s a few exercises I do…

Hamstring roll – I regularly find myself walking like John Wayne, I do this most days. To roll your hamstrings, place the roller beneath your thigh and roll from your lower bum to your knee.

Hamstring roll

Glute roll  the biggest muscle group in the body, I’m trying to make mine much bigger! To roll your glutes, sit on the roller and rest one foot on the opposite knee. Place your weight onto the side with the resting foot and roll back and forth.

Glute roll

Quad roll – to roll your quads, start in a plank position with the roller below your upper thigh. Place weight on one side of your body, then roll forwards so that the foam roller moves towards your knee.

Quad roll

Back roll – I find this most satisfying, my back is always in knots from the gym, bad posture and sitting at my desk. To roll your back, lie on your back and place the roller below your shoulders, then roll towards your ribs and lower back, back and forth.

Back roll

My foam roller cost around £15 from eBay, they come in all shapes and sizes but ultimately they all do the same thing – a great investment.

foam roller

Happy rolling!

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