Darren Placid discusses the benefits of fitness for mental health
Darren Placid is a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and an online fitness coach, who has been in the fitness industry for 7 years. In the past he taught classes and has participated in major events across the UK, and is now teaching fitness globally such as Spain and the Canary Islands.
The international fitness presenter has participated in the London runner’s marathon 3 times and has played in the English FA cup for Heybridge Swifts in 2003. In May 2021 he will be teaching spin classes in Fuerteventura for 1 week only.
He is also a Nike ambassador and looks up to sporting legends such as Muhammed Ali. Anthony Joshua, Pele, Dewayne Johnson and Michael Jordan. Even though fitness may seem like the only importance is the exterior of a person, Darren strongly believes that it is also important for a good state of mental health too.
Darren explains that, “For me there are many benefits from fitness in regards to mental health. Most of us know the many physical benefits of exercise: weight control, lower blood pressure, reduced risk of diabetes, and increased energy, just to name a few. But what about the psychological benefits of exercise? From easing symptoms of depression and anxiety to keeping your memory sharp, there’s no shortage of mental benefits of exercise. Whether you need motivation to get to the gym or to just take a brisk walk, it can help your anxiety or depression.”
The feel good
Darren states, “Physical activity kicks up endorphin levels, the body’s famous “feel good” chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord that produces feelings of happiness and euphoria. Even just moderate exercise throughout the week can improve depression and anxiety, so much so that some doctors recommend trying out an exercise regimen for these conditions before turning to medication.”
Darren suggests that, “When you are finally in the routine of fitness and you start to see your results, you will feel like you have reached the beginning of your success. This will make you feel motivated and have a better mentality with your approach to fitness. Not only will your body build strength, but your mind will too. Once you have achieved your goals, even the baby steps, you will soon see that you will be inspired to thrive for more success.”
Darren advises that, “Sometimes you can feel stressed out from other circumstances in life such as work or relationships, or you might find yourself overthinking situations that get you down. By going to the gym, walking or working out can clear your head and distract you from the bad thoughts that are clouding your mind. With endorphins being released into your brain, you will feel happier and focused on your fitness too. Fitness can be seen as a break through from your troubles, or a form of escapism from stress.”
According to helpguide, studies have shown that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as someone taking antidepressants. One of the most recent studies based on this topic was done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As a result, they concluded that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour can help reduce the risk of major depression by 26%. Studies also concluded that having an exercise schedule at the ready and following it daily can help prevent a person from relapsing.
Darren states, “Fitness is one of the most powerful things we can have as people. It can help fight against depression for many different reasons. It can help with neural growth, have reduced inflammation to the brain, plus once you comply with your fitness routine, you will see the new activity patterns in your brain that can promote positive feelings, as well as a sense of calmness and well being. By participating or performing in any sports or fitness routines 3 to 4 times a week can help improve your mental health state massively.”
Fitness is also known to play a role in relieving tensions and stress for someone who has anxiety. Yoga especially is great for anxiety, because it can help a person be in tune with their feelings, create a mindfulness environment, whilst feeling calm and peaceful.