On the 10th of October it was Mental Health day, where millions of people across the world came together to show appreciation for mental health. But also, to let suffers of mental health know that we are here for them.
Following on from this I thought it would be helpful to share another way to help deal with mental health.
Whether you’re suffering from mental health or not, exercise is a fantastic way to get that feel-good feeling.
The word exercise doesn’t mean hours in the gym, exercise can be a brisk walk to meet your friends for a coffee, a jog around the block, or your favourite gym class.
Its more about blowing out the cobwebs and clearing the mind – so however you feel you can achieve this, its good with me.
Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, and even add years to your life. But that’s not what motivates most people to stay active.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. And it’s also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.
Benefits of Exercise
There are numerous benefits of exercise, but here are just a few …
Balance exercises promote and help maintain equilibrium.
Flexibility exercises promote mobility in joints and muscles.
Strengthening exercises promote stronger movement, improvement posture and coordination.
Endurance/aerobic exercises promote heart and lung health. These include walking, stair climbing, swimming, bicycling, and hiking.
Exercise and Depression
Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects, of course. In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing.
Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good. Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
Exercise and Anxiety
Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but you’ll get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.
Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the wind on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, but you may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.
Exercise and Stress
Ever noticed how your body feels when you’re under stress? Your muscles may be tense, especially in your face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. You may feel a tightness in your chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can in turn lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between your mind and body.
Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.
Have a great weekend 🙂