Lose weight, tone muscle, fit into those #skinnyjeans. We all have different reasons for starting our fitness journey. But did you know that fitness is not only about that killer bod? It’s also about your killer mood. So whether you’re looking to combat anxiety, chill out, kick start your happiness hormones or all of the above, we’ve got just the right exercises to boost your confidence and get happy – Pharrell style.

Weight Training to Help Anxiety

Toned arms and perky breasts aren’t the only benefits of resistance training. There’s a whole heap of evidence that it may help people with anxiety disorders, too. From weights, weight machines, resistance bands and even medicine balls – resistance training (or weight training) builds muscle strength and endurance by exercising particular muscles/groups against resistance.

But, a study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, found that resistance training reduces symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder, compared with aerobic exercises or not exercise at all.

By focusing your attention on your workout, you’re not only improving your physical condition, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head. They also found that regular resistance training for six weeks or longer can have prolonged improvements on anxiety and reduce symptoms.

Aerobics to Improve Mental Health

Need a self-esteem boost? Easy. Why not try some aerobic exercises! By aerobics, we don’t mean leotard, knee high-sock, headband wearing aerobics! We’re not searching for Xanadi. But evidence has shown that aerobic exercise, such as running, power walking, cycling, and even tennis can help improve your mood, reduce stress and boost your overall well-being.

What you need to understand is that exercise isn’t just about muscle size, or how toned your abs are. Sure, it’s great for your physical health, but it’s not what motivates people to stay active. People who exercise regularly usually have an enormous sense of well-being. What do we mean by that? Exercising regularly allows you to feel more energetic through the day, you sleep better at night, promotes brain function and helps you feel more relaxed. Overall, it improves your mental health – compared to those who don’t exercise.

If you needed another excuse as to why exercise is Fking amazing. We just delivered it.

Tai Chi to Combat Low-Self Esteem

How does one over-come low self esteem? Not always so easy. But one way to boost your self-esteem is by stepping out of your comfort zone, and by doing things you’ve never done before. And we’re not talking about jumping out of plane either. Research has found that both Tai Chi and meditation have a powerful effect on the mind. Through the practice of both, you can learn to cultivate the stillness of your mind, that serves to increase your focus, reduce stress and boost your skills.

If you’re not familiar, Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition, that today is practised as a graceful form of exercise. What does it involve? Tai chi is series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner, which is accompanied by deep breathing. Your mind, similar to Yoga is completely consumed by the movements and breathing.

Tai Chi promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neutral growth, reduced inflammation and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. And, being a form of exercise – it releases endorphins – the happy chemical that energises your spirits and makes you feel damn good!

Yoga to Clear the Mind

Ever notices how you body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles tense, leaving you with possibly back or neck pain and even worse – headaches. You could feel a tightness in your chest, pounding heart, or even experience problems like insomnia. The constant worrying, and semi-freak outs can create a vicious cycle between your mind a body.

The solution? A clear mind. Yoga is an effective way to clear your mind. Despite releasing endorphins in the brain, yoga helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body with specific poses. With a combination of yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation, it helps the mind come back to the present, and restores clarity and alertness.

In addition, yoga increases self-awareness, focus, physical health and emotional stability. You’ll feel better about yourself which will automatically boost your confidence.