We all know that working out can keep us healthy and powerful physically. But how many of you know that exercise can also keep you mentally healthy? Exercise is not just about physical strength and muscle size, there is much more to it. Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental and emotional wellbeing, leading to lower rates of mental illness. Even if you’re not suffering from a mental health problem, regular physical activity can still offer a great boost to your mood and mental well-being. With significant changes to our daily lives due to the pandemic, it has become even more important to concentrate on our mental health now. Come let’s add more mental health exercises to our daily routine for a healthy mind and body!
What Mental Health Exercises Can Do To Our Mind
When it comes to exercise everyone is aware of the physical benefits of exercise, but what about the mental health benefits? The below listed benefits of exercise on mental health will motivate you to tie up your shoelaces and head outside to boost your body, mind, and spirit.
One of the most common benefits of exercise on mental health is it aids to reduce stress levels. Increasing your heart rate can actually increase the production of neurohormones, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress.
Decreases Depression And Anxiety
Exercise is scientifically proven to be a mood lifter. This in turn decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety. Physical activity releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and excitement. Studies have shown that even moderate exercise throughout the week can help with depression and anxiety.
Regardless of a person’s weight, size, gender or age, exercise can elevate a person’s self-confidence. From losing weight to improving endurance, there’s no shortage of physical achievements that come about from regular exercise. All these achievements help to boost one’s self-esteem.
Exercise helps regulate your circadian rhythm, our bodies’ built-in alarm clock that controls when we feel tired and when we feel alert. Exercise increases body temperature, which can have calming effects on the mind, leading to sound sleep.
Boosts Brain Power
Cardiovascular exercise creates new brain cells that improve overall brain performance. A tough workout increases levels of BDNF – the brain-derived protein in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, building intelligence, strengthening memory and learning.
Best Mental Health Exercises To Look Out For
One of the best exercises for mental health is Yoga as it integrates the body and the mind. Yoga looks like it works only on the surface level but actually, it starts working from within. Breathing is like a superpower when it comes to mental health exercises in Yoga. Taking long deep steady breaths in Yoga is a way of cutting through all those negative and destructive thoughts. The continuous focus on the breath brings one into the present moment and instigates a parasympathetic response from our nervous systems that helps us calm down.
The simplest, most accessible and most affordable exercise of all is walking. While walking you get time to think, re-think, analyze, understand, and process. You will be amazed to know that something so simple can have such an impact. A small walk with nature can be of huge benefit to mental health, for best results avoid the treadmill. Moving your body, in an effortless and enjoyable way provides a calming effect, which helps facilitate mood regulation.
There’s nothing quite like free-wheeling down a hill on your bike, feeling the wind in your hair blow your worries away. Cycling is that kind of mental health exercise that pulls one into the present moment leaving all the worries behind. Use your motor skills to allow thinking processes to run smoothly, while they burn off anxiety and keep the mind healthy via their pedals.
Even if you’re not feeling on top of the world, dancing can make you happy. Getting into the rhythm can help loosen yourself as long as you’re enjoying the session. Dancing not only relieves stress and makes you focus on the present, but it also improves posture. That makes a big difference when it comes to self-confidence. Other studies show that dance helps increase levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps develop new neural connections, especially in regions involved in executive function, long-term memory, and spatial recognition.
Resistance training is an exercise that involves pushing or pulling against some kind of force, whether that’s dumbbells, free weights, bottles of water, weights machines or even your own body weight. There are a host of ways by which resistance training can have a positive effect on mental health. These mental health exercises improved memory, lower anxiety, better sleep, improved cognition and a chance of battling depression and chronic fatigue.
Martial Arts Or Boxing
Hitting a punching bag or kicking in martial arts is not only a great way of working up a sweat but also a fantastic way to release stress and anger. Punching and kicking movements is an outlet for aggression that can be both empowering and healing. The intensity of these mental health exercises helps with a good supply of mood-boosting endorphins. Boxing and martial arts can help build self-control and confidence all of which are incredibly valuable for boosting your own emotional well-being.
Make mental health exercises a part of your everyday activity, as it is worth it. The list of activities mentioned on this page can serve as a good place to start but do remember to figure out what type of exercise best suits your lifestyle and mentality. Everyone has different interests and needs; it may take some time to find the right one. Do what is most enjoyable for you, as ultimately it’s your mental health that matters.