As much as I don’t always like to exercise, even I accept that keeping physically fit is important to your mental health.
The same things that keep your body healthy also help to keep you mentally healthy – lots of clean water, good natural foods and appropriate exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is important as it keeps the blood flowing round our bodies and that includes making sure that your brain has a good supply of oxygen. The best sort of cardiovascular exercise to stave off brain degeneration in diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s also includes mental stimulation e.g. going for a run in a wood as opposed to on a tread mill.
But other sorts of exercise are important too. Planking is a great way to strengthen your core muscles, is easy to do, takes no special equipment and can be started by anybody no matter what fitness level, though you should always check with your GP or health professional before starting any exercise programme.
Increasing your core strength helps to improve balance, improves your posture, makes you a more efficient runner or walker, improves stability, increases upper body strength, strengthens hips and pelvic floor and increases low back strength which reduces risk of injury.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, it’s always best to start with achievable goals – so if you would like to increase your fitness, why not start with planking. It will take less than a minute a day to start with – and anybody can commit to that, no matter what time pressures are on them. By slowly building up the amount of time you plank for, you will steadily increase your core strength which will help you to do whatever exercise goals you set yourself next.
If you look it up you will find lots of different 30 day challenge patterns for planking. The one I have added at the bottom is for demonstration purposes only. If you decide to follow one of these you should choose the one that fits in best with your ability levels. If you can do it with a friend or partner – even better – you’ll be able to keep each other motivated and the competition element will keep you doing your best.
I hope you do something today to increase your fitness. It will make you feel better, it will give you a sense of achievement and your future self will thank you for the effort you make today 🙂