We’ve talked about the link between food and mood but what about movement and mood? We’ve all heard of endorphins but how much impact do they really have? We caught up with another of our amazing Real Active Ambassadors to talk about a topic very close to her heart, health and fitness. Charisse Walker, AKA @thebodycoach_cw on Instagram, shares with us how she found her calling in health and fitness, just how great endorphins are and a power packed 15 minute workout you can try at home.

  • Tell us a little bit about you, how did you get into fitness?

After I had my first daughter, something within me ignited, I wanted to become an amazing role model to her. I wanted her to grow up loving her beautiful temple for all that it is, even if that means being different from the way society tells her she should be. It was then that I decided to complete my Cert III and IV in Fitness and Personal Training. I have since furthered my knowledge in other ways; as I have grown so has my focus within the health and fitness industry. I have completed many courses in personal development, and spent a lot of time learning, this was when I finally found my niche within the health and fitness world. I realised that just “workouts” was not what I wanted to share, but wellness within our entire ‘body’. Mental wellness became one of my priorities when coaching other women, having lived with anxiety myself; I was personally able to relate to women on that level, understanding how debilitating it can be. I have always shared my personal story and I have found over the years that having that openness with women can feel like a breath of fresh air in a society that at times, can very much make us feel as if we have to look, act and just generally “be” a certain way.

When COVID hit this year, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and take my coaching online. I created my first ever online program called the '8 Week Mind & Body Journey'. I have been blown away by the support, feedback and response to my program. I'm excited for what's to come in the near future.

  • What are the core benefits of exercise in relation to mood?

We all know physical activity helps with our physical health and overall fitness, but it can also be used as treatment and prevention for our mental health. It helps to boost your mood, improve your sleep and memory as well as help you deal with things like stress, anxiety, depression, and even ADHD. It seriously is a powerful medicine for SO many mental health challenges. It promotes so many kinds of changes in the brain (some very scientific) but one that we are the most familiar with is the release of endorphins which are powerful chemicals in your brain that leave you feeling truly incredible afterwards.

There are actually quite a number of scientific studies that show how exercise can help treat mild to moderate anxiety and depression just as effectively as any anti depression medication can. A very recent study has proven that just 15 minutes of running a day can actually reduce the risk of major depression by 26% which is incredible, it truly blows my mind.

Personally I love to take a really mindful approach to my workouts, and I coach my clients to do the same. Really focusing on the mental and physical feelings and sensations inside your body while exercising. Becoming aware of the muscles at work at each given moment and throughout each individual exercise, even the rhythm of your breathing and feelings of wind or sweat on your skin. When you begin to pay attention and become aware of the changes your body experiences during and post workout, you will improve your mindset immensely.

  • What are your top tips for someone who struggles to fit exercise into their day and the thought of squeezing a workout in just makes them feel even more stressed?

1. Take opportunities when they arise:

Firstly I would say take opportunities when they arise, and put yourself into 'action mode' at all times. Find those little stolen moments of time, instead of scrolling on your phone get up and do some squats, hit the deck and hold a 1 minute plank. If you're waiting for your children at a sports game, duck off and do some sprints. If you're on your morning tea break, do a 5 minute no equipment workout or walk around the block or chuck a dance party in your living room! The opportunities really are endless when you begin to look. It's about switching that mindset from what I can't control, to what I can!

2. Be prepared and organised:

If you're making excuses of being time poor, ask yourself what you can do to create more time? Prepare your workout clothes the night before and lay them out so you're ready to go. Prep lunches the night before or dinner early in your day. Even the busiest people in the world will find the time when they want to. For me, time is never an excuse because I make exercise a priority. I will drop other things from my list over dropping my workout. Once you begin to do this and create this habit, it just becomes easier and easier because it now becomes a non-negotiable. Lose the guilt and recognise that the benefits of physical activity will outweigh most things on that long to-do list!

Can you suggest a quick 15 minute workout anyone can do at home?

Sure can. See below my No Equipment HIIT Workout! 

Simply set your timer for 15 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible, working through the list below. Once you get to the bottom, simply start again and work your way back down the list until your time is up.

  1. 30 second Sprint on Spot
  2. 15-20 reps of 3 Phase Squats
  3. 15-20 reps of Bicycle Legs
  4. 15-30 reps of Commandos
  5. 15-20 reps of Plank Ankle Taps

If you’re a beginner, you can opt for a lower number of reps, use your body to guide you.

*See this post for a demonstration of each movement.

 Thank you so much for sharing Charisse - I think we can all agree, you've inspired us to get moving, even if it is just for 15 minutes. Now... off to go and get some endorphins flowing with this awesome HIIT workout! 

Michelle aka @thatmarketingmum

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