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On Exercise from Anxious Man

Everyone by now knows the benefits of exercise, but it can often be the hardest thing to start implementing it into your routine. In his book, Anxious Man, Josh Roberts shares his experiences and explains how we don’t need to do loads in the gym to feel the benefits: 

Exercise does all manner of good things for our mental health. Most notably (…) it’s brilliant news for brain chemistry. People who exercise tend to exhibit higher levels of the ‘happy chemical’ serotonin, for example. And they get to enjoy more endorphins – the lovely neurotransmitters responsible for that delicious post-exercise surge. Taken together, these chemicals seem to make us much cheerier. Either they do it directly or they improve our mood, which, in turn, makes us happier. Regardless, the more of these chemicals we get, the better.

I’m still no good at the gym. I still haven’t got anything approaching abs or pecs. I still wheeze, heave and splutter. I still sweat. I mean really sweat. Not a thin, sexy film of perspiration; full-on, Darth-Vader-in-a-sauna sweat.

In a way, though, that’s missing the point. I don’t exercise because I’m good at it; I do it because I need it. And because I enjoy it. Not always, naturally – about once a month I have a stinker of a session and wish I’d never gone. But mostly I feel like I’m in a Nike advert – it’s just me, my goals and my ‘Go Girl’ playlist.

What’s cool is that you don’t need to exercise loads to feel the benefits. Three times a week, for a period of 10 weeks, seems to be the going rate. And while rhythmic aerobic exercises appear the most effective (e.g. running, cycling, swimming), even light exertion can also have an impact. According to one study just walking briskly for 10 to 15 minutes a day can have a positive effect.


Extract from Anxious Man by Josh Roberts.