How to look after your mental health with exercise
It is incredibly easy for many of us to view physical activity as something that we ‘have to do’ or something that we ‘should do’, rather than something that has positive benefits for our overall well being. There are many benefits of physical exercise: increased physical wellness, the potential for losing weight, and improved mental health and wellbeing. Physical exercise can have a really positive impact on your mental wellbeing, so we have produced this helpful guide to advise how you can look after your mental health with exercise.
The benefits of exercise
Physical activity and exercise has many benefits. These benefits are caused by your brain. By partaking in exercise, it stimulates chemicals that improve your mood and the parts of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Some more benefits of physical exercise include:
- Improved overall mood and wellbeing, even if you’re feeling generally okay
- Reduced risk of illnesses like heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease
- A better recovery process from illnesses and conditions, such as muscular conditions
- Increased chances of weight loss, which is good for your health overall and can help your self-esteem.
How exercise has an impact on your mental health
When you are exercising, you release the chemicals endorphins and serotonin into your body that work to improve your mood. By exercising regularly, you can reduce your stress levels and improve mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Exercise opens many other opportunities that can have a positive impact on your mental health. It can cause you to get out into the world a bit more than you would perhaps have done previously as you could partake in outdoor training or classes where you engage with this. This can help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation.
There are some other great ways that exercise can positively benefit your mental health:
- Exercising can improve your sleeping patterns which, in turn, can improve your mood and reduce feelings of fatigue and exhaustion
- Exercise pumps blood to the brain which helps you to think more clearly and process your thoughts in a more regulated manner
- Exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory, meaning that your memory levels will increase and allow you to stay more focused.
What exercises to do for mental health
Here are four types of workouts that could improve your mental health:
- Resistance training.
By trying out a variety of workouts, you can find which exercises are right for you and your body and you can begin implementing these into your everyday routine. It is best to start slow and allow your body to adjust to the new workouts and before long, you’ll be seeing the improvements both physically and mentally.
Importance of rest and recovery for mental health
If you are looking to improve your mental health with exercise, it is important to not push yourself too hard, especially if you’re a beginner.
If you’re suddenly exercising more than usual, your muscles won’t be used to it. You need to incorporate appropriate rest and recovery to prevent causing yourself an injury. You can try stretching regularly, ensuring you get a good amount of sleep a night, and using muscle recovery tools, such as a foam roller or massage gun.
Physical exercise has an endless amount of positive benefits for your body, both physically and mentally, so why not use this time to become invested in yourself and treat your body and mind to a new routine. We hope this article has helped provide you with some tips on looking after your mental health with exercise.