People often ask Rhian Stephenson, CEO of Psycle, what the best way to workout is. In this blog post Rhian outlines why having a holistic approach to exercise is the best way to elevate your health, and why there is no one perfect workout.
Psycle's Guide to a Holistic Exercise Regime
In order to be truly healthy we need to have great cardiovascular health, strong muscles, a flexible body, and a positive way of managing stress, which is why having a holistic approach to exercise will elevate your health.
For elite athletes, cross-training is just as important as training in their elected sport. They know that having well rounded fitness will give them the best chance of success. Although the context is different, the principle is the same. Different types of exercises will give you different physiological and emotional benefits, so the more balanced your fitness regime is, the more balanced your body and mind will be.
Just like it’s important to eat a varied diet to get a good cross section of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients, it’s important to vary a workout regime to benefit from the specific hormonal and physiological effects of different types of training. Read on to find out more.
Cardio is our first love and should be a core part of every workout regime. In terms of heart health and metabolism, insulin and blood sugar regulation, cardiovascular exercise ticks all the boxes. But for us cardio does so much more. The flood of endorphins and ‘happy hormones’ that you get from an intense cardio workout is unmatched by other types of workouts. It’s been shown to treat and sometimes even be curative for anxiety, depression and lack of motivation.
In terms of brain health, it’s a must have. Cardio specifically increases blood flow to an area of the brain called the hippocampus. Why is that important? Well, the hippocampus helps us with memory, creativity, learning and emotions.
Best for: mood, metabolism, energy, cognition and memory, motivation
Yoga is finally finding its feet in the modern world. For ages, many non-believers dismissed yoga as just stretching, but it’s benefits to almost every aspect of health have finally come to light. Yoga regulates the sympathetic nervous system, meaning that it’s one of the best exercises to bring us out of the fight or flight mode and into a more restorative physiological environment.
It helps decrease cortisol and regulate sex hormones, improves digestion, enhances blood flow to major organs in the body - and that’s before we get into its physical benefits. Yes, yoga is great for posture and flexibility, but it is also fantastic for muscular strength – particularly when it comes to the core – and joint stability. It’s the discipline of choice for many elite athletes (Djokovic hails yoga as integral to his tennis game) because it helps with functional flexibility and elasticity of the ligaments & muscles.
Best for: athletes &cross training, stress regulation, injury prevention, posture, mobility
Strength training is a fundamental must for every workout regime. Hormonally, resistance training is one of the best ways to boost Growth Hormone (GH), one of the master regulators of our metabolism. GH is involved in energy metabolism, body composition, regulation of sex hormones, body fluid regulation… you name it, GH is probably good for it. While most types of exercise will induce a GH response, resistance/weight & HIIT training gives the biggest.
Strength training is also incredibly important for functional fitness – meaning the fitness we need to function well in everyday life. From recreational activities like skiing, swimming and hiking to everyday actions like bending over or playing with our kids, everything we do will be easier and safer if we have strong joints, ligaments and muscles. Without having adequate strength to stabilise our frame, we’ll be more exposed to risk of injury. Strength training isn’t just about heavy weights, Barre is also a great form of strength training with the same physiological benefits.
Best for: metabolism & fat burning, muscular strength, confidence, libido.
Want to try your hand at some of Psycle's ever-popular fitness classes? We've teamed up with Psycle and Sweaty Betty on a 10-day energy and strength building programme - The Summer Set. Find out more here.
Rhian Stephenson is the CEO of Psycle. Find out more about Psycle over on their website here: https://psyclelondon.com or follow them on Instagram @psyclelondon