The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Physical exercise can be an important factor in your mental health, proven to relieve symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Exercise has been used in the past by mental health professionals as part of treatment for specific mental health illnesses.
Exercise stimulates chemicals that improve your mood and the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning. For many, exercise is a great way to set and conquer personal goals, whether you’re looking to start skipping rope for the first time or run your first 5km, setting attainable goals is a way of maintaining control and keeping your interest in fitness.
No matter your age or fitness ability, you can learn to use exercise as an amazing tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy, and get more out of life. Feeling grateful and proud of your body and its capabilities can be very helpful for people who struggle with mental health issues. Some other benefits include:
- The chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, stress hormones and endorphins, change when you exercise.
- Regular exercise can help you sleep better.
- Exercise can improve your coping ability and self-esteem. People who exercise regularly often feel good achieving a goal.
- Make time to socialise and get social support if you exercise with others.
- Exercise increases your energy levels.
How much physical activity should I be doing for my mental health?
If exercising regularly is not already a part of your routine, you might be wondering how much you need to do to give your mental health a boost. Studies show that low or moderate-intensity exercise is enough to make a difference in terms of mood and thinking patterns.
According to the NHS website for the UK, adults should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. We will list some ideas for exercises below.
On a run, mood-elevating endorphins combine with the runner’s high, encouraging a feeling of well-being. Runners also regularly boast the benefits of stress relief and better sleep, both of which can really add towards improved emotional well-being, relieving anxiety, and fighting depression.
Proven benefits of resistance training include improved memory, lower anxiety, better sleep, improved cognition and a chance of battling depression and chronic fatigue.
Adding resistance training to your workout routine is a great way to improve self-esteem and confidence, which is highly associated with positive physical and mental well-being. Working on your strength and hitting goals can be very rewarding to your mental health
If getting started with an exercise routine sounds overwhelming keep in mind that starting is always better than never starting at all. For some tips on how to build your exercise routine find our blog explaining how to begin.
Yoga and meditation promote relaxation, the opposite of anxiety, stress, and depression. Building our ability to stay centred, is vital for stress management. By pausing to breathe, meditate or stretch a reaction of calming begins.
These are just a few ideas to help you with improving your mental health using exercise. It’s important to remember when looking at what exercise is best for your mental health that the best exercise for your mental health is the exercise you enjoy the most. The best exercise is the one that gets you moving in a way that makes you feel good.
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