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Does Exercising Help In Reducing Depression?

depression

Exercising makes a big difference

Can a trip to the gym be the cure for your depression? When you are depressed or anxious, exercising is usually the last thing you would like to engage in. But if you get the right kind of motivation, exercise makes a big difference. Exercising is not the ultimate cure for depression but a recent study that was published in the Sport and Exercise Psychology Journal found that exercises that encourage more heart pumping and increase the production of endorphins actually help in promoting happiness.

Scientists claim that people who are more physically active are more excited and enthusiastic when compared to those who lead sedentary lifestyles. Apart from regular exercising significantly reducing depression and stress, exercise helps you get better quality sleep at night.

Exercise helps in boosting self-esteem. When you regularly exercise, chemicals known as endorphins are released by the body. These endorphins work together with your brain receptors to reduce the recognition of pain.

Endorphins (feel good hormones) also stimulate positive feelings in the body, like that of morphine. For instance, the feeling that one gets after a workout is described as “euphoric” and it’s usually followed by positive thoughts about life. But unlike morphine, activation of the receptors by the endorphins produced in the body does not cause addiction.

Endorphins also function as analgesics, meaning that they reduce the recognition of pain. They also play the role of sedatives. They are produced in the brain, spinal cord and so many other parts of the body. The endorphins get released to respond to neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). These neuron receptors that endorphins link to are the same ones that are found in some pain killers.

Exercising also helps in increasing body temperatures which has some calming effect to the brain thus reducing depression.

Here are some exercises that will help reduce depression.

Gym woman

Strength training

Strength training activities are all about control and mastery which needs complete attention and concentration. In a research carried among 45 stroke survivors who suffered from depression, a strength training program that lasted for a period of 10 weeks aided in reducing depression symptoms among the participants.

aerobic exercise

Aerobic and cardio exercises

Aerobic and cardio exercises are certainly the best workouts that help in fighting depression. You get the “runners high” which helps in releasing endorphins.

yoga in a group

Yoga

Yoga has impressive antidepressant effects in that it helps in improving flexibility, involves mindfulness which assists in breaking off negative thoughts, improves balance, increases your strength, improves your breathing pattern and consists of meditative components.

 

Other exercises that help in reducing depression are: dancing, biking, jogging, swimming and playing tennis.

Although the connection between depression and exercise isn’t completely clear, working out and other types of physical activities can help in easing depression symptoms and lift your moods up. Regular exercise can also help in preventing depression from re-occurring after you have recovered.

It is important that one joins a group exercise especially if they are suffering from depression since a strong social support is vital. You can exercise with your partner or a close friend. In the meantime, if you have any signs of depression or just low moods, then it may be a good idea to head to the gym. It may be what you just need!

 

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The Best Exercises For Your Back

back-muscles

Top 3 Back Exercises

Working out your back helps you to have powerful physique and create the illusion that you are having a small waist. The largest set of muscles is the leg muscles. Your back muscles are the second largest. Therefore, if you put in some serious effort to train your back, it will definitely pay off great dividends irrespective of whether you want to burn calories, fill out the shirts better, develop functional strength or fix your posture.

#1: Seated Cable Row Using One Arm (3 Sets of 12 to 15 reps each)

Sit on the row machine and fix your feet on to the front crossbar or platform so that your knees are slightly bent. Lean over, maintaining your back’s natural alignment, and hold the handle attachment. Use your left arm and the palm-down grip. Pull back till your upper body is at 90 degrees to your legs. At this point, keep your back slightly arched. However, your chest should stick out. When holding the handle attachment in the front, you should experience stretching of your laterals. Keep the right arm by the waist.

Keep your upper body stationary and pull the handles towards you. As you pull, rotate your wrist so that it assumes a neutral position when your hand reaches your abdominals. Palms should face the torso. Remember to breathe out when performing this movement and squeeze your back muscles hard and hold for one second. Slowly get back to the starting position as you breathe in.

#2: Rack Pulls (3 Sets of 8 to 10 reps each)

Set up the bar on pins on a power rack. Set the pins at the desired point, below or above the knees or in the middle of the thigh. Position yourself for a deadlift with your feet under your hips, shoulder width grip, arched back and hips positioned to engage the hamstrings. As you will be handling heavy weight, you can use straps or a mixed or hook grip. Look straight ahead and extend through the knees and hips to pull the weight out of the lock. As you finish the move, pull back your shoulders. Put the weight back on the pins and repeat.

#3: Close Grip Pull-down to Train Laterals (3 Sets of 12 to 15 reps each)

Use the pull-down machine which has a wide bar fixed to the pulley at the top. Adjust the machine’s knee pad to suit your height. This ensures that your body is not raised by the resistance weight attached to the bar. Hold the bar with a close grip. Your palms should be facing forward. Tilt your torso back to around 30 degrees, arch your lower back and stick your chest out. This is the starting position. Now, breathe out and pull the bar down so that it touches the upper part of your chest. Hold for a second and come back to the starting position.