It is no secret that exercise is good for your body, but did you know mental health exercise go hand in hand? Moving your body can improve your mood and sleep while helping you cope with depression, anxiety, and stress?
Exercise isn’t all about bulging muscles, slimmer waists and beating your 10k time. Of course, there are many physical benefits of exercising, but many people are motivated to exercise because it makes them happy.
How Does Exercise Make You Happy?
Many things in our lives make us stressed, impacting our overall happiness and feeling of well-being. Stress not only ruins your mood but can lead to health issues.
However, exercise is one of the best ways to fight stress. It reduces the risk of depression improves health and happiness. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, your physical and mental health can be compromised.
Our bodies release feel-good chemicals that boost our mood while suppressing anxiety when we exercise. Among the chemicals released are endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine neurotransmitters which are related to pain and depression emotions. Exercise also reduces adrenalin and cortisol hormone activity, which promote feelings of anxiety and tension.
People who exercise regularly are happier as they have an enormous sense of well-being. They sleep better and feel more energetic throughout their daily lives. This is enhanced with a heightened sense of self-esteem, especially when they see improvements in their fitness and appearance.
Do I Have To do Lots Of Exercise To Improve My Mental Health?
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym every day and train intensely to feel better about yourself. It just takes 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. If it’s easier, you can even break this down into two 15-minute or even three 10-minute exercise sessions.
If this seems too much to fit into your busy schedule, you need to remember that even a little bit of activity is better than nothing.
Start with 5 or 10 minutes of activity and increase the time with each session. After a couple of weeks, you will have more energy, making you ready for more. Exercise becomes a habit after a while, which makes it much easier to maintain an active lifestyle.
How Intense Do I Need To Exercise To Feel Good?
You don’t have to ride your bike up a mountain or go open water swimming to get results. Just exercise at a moderate level to start with. This means you should make sure you breathe a little heavier than usual. For example, you should be able to hold a conversation during a brisk walk and feel warmer without sweating too much.
Mental Health And Exercise – Getting Started!
Even when you know your physical and mental health will benefit from exercise, it can be challenging to make the first step. Here are some typical barriers people experience and how to get over them.
Many people think that going for a workout will make you feel worse when you are tired. However, exercise is an excellent energiser.
If you feel tired, go for a 5-minute walk. Once you get going, there is a good chance that you will have enough energy to walk for longer.
The thought of adding something else into your schedule when you are stressed can make you feel overwhelmed. Often exercise doesn’t seem like a practical use of your time.
However, you should think of exercise as a priority to help your mental health. If you can do this, you will find ways to squeeze in exercise, no matter how small, into your schedule.
Some people find getting started with exercise challenging because it is a lot of effort. You don’t need to do an intense workout; just start slow with low-intensity exercise and build up the intensity as you get fitter.
It is common for a person to be their own worst critic. If this is you, take this as an opportunity to try a new way of thinking about your body. Set yourself a realistic goal and commit to it. Once you have reached your goal, set another one, and so on. These incremental steps will prove to you that you can accomplish things. This, combined with the feel-good factor of exercising, will boost your mood and self-esteem.
As we get older, we are more vulnerable to injuries and pain. You may also experience pain due to arthritis or weight problems. If this is the case, talk to a professional about the best and safest ways to exercise for you.
You should never ignore pain, but you can exercise in ways that can help. A personal trainer may suggest dividing your exercise into shorter, more frequent sessions. Alternatively, they may recommend exercising in water to reduce joint or muscle discomfort.
How To Stay Motivated
Many people find it hard to feel motivated to exercise. But when your mental health is not at its best, it becomes even more challenging. This is because your mental state can rob you of energy and motivation.
But here are some tips to help you get and stay motivated for exercise.
When you don’t feel at your best, stay away from setting yourself extravagant goals. If you try to go all in and commit to running a marathon or spending every day in the gym, you will only feel worse if you don’t manage to do it.
This is why it is much better to set more achievable goals and build on them.
Workout When You Have The Most Energy
Some people have more energy in the morning, while others feel at their best at lunchtime or in the evening. Also, you may find that you are better at longer workouts at the weekend.
Therefore, you may benefit from scheduling your exercise (even if it is a short walk) for the time when you feel most invigorated.
To boost your energy, create a motivational playlist you can listen to that will keep you going.
It won’t take long to build enough energy to extend your exercise sessions or make them more vigorous.
Focus On Activities You Enjoy
Any activity that gets you moving is good for you, from dog walking to yoga. So sticking to things that you enjoy will keep you motivated, and the more you do, the better you become at them.
If you are entirely new to exercise, try different activities until you find something you want to spend time doing.
Part of the reward of exercising is how much better you feel afterwards. But you can motivate yourself further by treating yourself. A simple thing like a post-workout smoothie is an additional pleasant element to your session.
Make It Social
Exercising with friends and family makes it a more fun experience. It can also help you stay motivated to stick to a routine. The companionship you get from exercising in a group is just as important as the workout when it comes to mental health.
Why not join an exercise class if you need someone to exercise with? For example, group gym workouts, spin classes, and yoga sessions are great ways to meet and work out with like-minded people.
Final Thoughts On Mental Health And Exercise
You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into long, monotonous workouts to experience the many mental health benefits of exercise. Sometimes you just need some guidance and a gentle push in the right direction.
If you are struggling with getting started or motivated, why not contact us at Buzz? We can help you to improve your mental health through exercise
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