7 Benefits to Exercise for Mental Health
Most people know that exercise improves your body and helps with weigh loss in some form. But exercise also improves your mental health by way of your mood, stress relief, a form of meditation and improves your sleep. A great way it also helps is if you suffer from depression or anxiety. It does not always have to be about improving muscle mass or weight loss.
Benefits of Exercising for Mental Health
When exercising for your mental health you start to improve your own wellness and overall wellbeing. Your energy starts to increase as now your body is moving. You will find that it will improve your mental alertness, it will allow you to feel better about yourself and increase self esteem. You will also find that you sleep better at night as your mind will be clearer. Improve mental alertness as it will increase brain cells as blood flows to your brain with movement.
The best part about it there is not age barrier to doing this as everyone can do it- should your physical well being allow. All you need to do is find something that you enjoy.
Exercising can assist with those suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health illnesses.
Here are some ways that exercise can improve your mental health and wellbeing.
1. Depression & Anxiety
With depression and anxiety; exercise is a great way to break the negative energy that you are feeling. By getting yourself moving is a great way to feel good about yourself by releasing endorphins in your brain. More importantly keeping the mind active and distracting yourself. Exercise can bring you a feeling of calmness and giving you a new activity to lift your spirits
A Study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.
When we are under stress our body goes into fight or flight. Which means that in a fight situation our body tenses up, heart rate increases, eyes go into tunnel vision, blood goes to the muscle and away from our brain and lastly glucose get moved to our muscles so we have the energy to get out of situation. As this is naturally designed for short turn to help out of a situation of survive it is not good fo our our body long term but also not good for our mind. When exercising it helps cut this cycle and releases the negative energy and makes you feel goo
3.How to Start & Benefits
When starting with exercise don’t overwhelm yourself with hours of time. Like I stated before with the studies just start with 15 mins a day. If you feel you want to increase just work within your means. This 15 mins might be going for a walk around the block. The key is to get yourself into a routine however small it is. You will find that by exercising you energy will increase. Now this is challenging to tell people as when they think of exercising they think of feeling exhausted or tired after it BUT the feedback I have received from clients is that they feel better for it once it is done.
4.Goal Setting & Planning
Plan you’re exercising into your lifestyle and when you feel most energised. This might be early mornings, mid morning, afternoon or early evenings. If you can choose a time when your energy is at a high you will more than likely do it. Some days you might feel it a different time, then go with it. Remember we are only human so days that you feel low just do something small. Set yourself a goal, this might be on how many times in a week you want to achieve or minutes in a day. Setting yourself a routine is a great way to set your goals
5.Enjoy What you Do
One of the biggest things to do is to do something you enjoy and not making it a chore. You have a much higher chance in sticking to it longer term which will help with your mental health. It might be walking, running, cycling, meditation or yoga. Try a variety of different things and mix it up as well just for your mental state. If example you might choose different places to walk or music lists. Exercise with a friend or family member to keep yourself accountable or just to talk too. Walking and talking to someone is a great source of meditation in it’s self.
A great way to keep yourself exercising is to be apart of an online support group. You don’t have to leave your home to exercise. There are online workouts and exercises to turn too. This could be around exercise routines, nutritional advice, mental health catchups or stretching movements. When improving mental health exercise is great, but just talking or improving your nutrition can play a part as well.
Getting out and about with family can be so good for everyones mental health. This might be going to a soccer ground and kicking a ball, walking to the local park, walking along a beach, hiking together or just going out and being silly somewhere and taking photos. But being active together can bring you all together and help improve mental health. It comes back to feeling good, putting yourself in a positive mood and coming from a place of gratitude.