Finding comfort in various everyday tasks is vital to staying on top of our mental health. If we ever feel anxious or stressed, for example, we need to make sure we know what it is that can calm us down and bring us back to a healthy mental state. The form this stimulus takes will vary from person to person; it could be listening to some music, reading a book, practicing meditation, or in the case of Joe Rogan, working out.
The podcast host and UFC commentator is no stranger to giving us lashings of wisdom – such as banishing our “inner b*tch” and to make sure we always stretch – and his latest Instagram post holds particular weight (pun intended) given the current global climate. While we may be pretty much out of the woods here in Australia with regard to cases of The Bat Kiss, countries such as the USA are still recording high numbers of cases on a daily basis. There is, therefore, still much to be stressed about.
Joe’s solution? Working out, late at night. These factors, individually, can be particularly effective at helping us to chill out and calm down, but put them together and you have the perfect cocktail for a mental stress release.
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While Joe’s late-night workout contains heavy kettlebells – in the shape of gorilla heads – any exercise by its own accord is a great tool to turn to if you want to look after your mental health. DMARGE has previously reached out to Sydney-based Black Dog Institute in 2020 and Dr Kathleen O’Moore, a clinical psychologist at the Institute told us “even just an hour of exercise a week has been proven to lower depression and anxiety.”
That conclusion was derived from examining self-reported data of some 34,000 Norwegian adults, who recorded their depression and anxiety levels in correlation with the amount of exercise they did. A similar study was conducted in the USA that examined data “from the 2011, 2013, and 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System survey”.
This study, “compared the number of days of bad self-reported mental health between individuals who exercised and those who did not, using an exact non-parametric matching procedure to balance the two groups in terms of age, race, gender, marital status, income, education level, body-mass index category, self-reported physical health, and previous diagnosis of depression.”
“Individuals who exercised had 1·49 (43·2%) fewer days of poor mental health in the past month than individuals who did not exercise but were otherwise matched for several physical and sociodemographic characteristics.”
The researchers concluded, “physical exercise was significantly and meaningfully associated with self-reported mental health burden in the past month”, although added “more exercise is not always better” – tying in with Dr Kathleen Moore’s recommendation of just one hour a day.
But what about the time you workout? It’s an argument we’ve examined before, with the general consensus being early morning workouts provide you with an energy boost for the day, yet late night workouts are great at helping you to de-stress after a day at work. You will also have more food in you before your late-night workout, and thus should be better fuelled, which in turn will help you lift better and ultimately perform to your very best.
And, as The Mayo Clinic, states, exercise (albeit at any time of day) increases the level of endorphins in your body – the chemical that makes you feel good – which will help to counteract any negative thoughts you may be having.
If it works for The Rock and Mark Wahlberg, it can work for us (although, classing a 2am workout as early-morning or late-night is entirely down to you).
There’s no specific type of exercise that has been proven to be more beneficial than the next. It ultimately comes down to what you prefer to do. The “runner’s high” associated with the good feeling you get after a run, for example, is just an interpretation of the aforementioned endorphin release. If your aim is to build strength, then adopt a strength-training program.
Of course, there is more you need to do to look after your mental health than just work out. But a sweat session is a great place to start as it is something you have complete control over – and which will provide an immediate release.