There are countless reasons why exercise is good for you. Obviously, it has great physical effects but the benefits for your mental health can sometimes be overlooked. Many people now turn to exercise as a way of maintaining their mental health and wellbeing. The pandemic has definitely put a different perspective on exercise as a whole. Before this time it was much more of a choice and some would happily choose to leave exercise at the door. But then as everyone became forced to stay at home the need for exercise prevailed to maintain good mental health.
As someone that has struggled in the past with mental health, I really notice the difference in how I’m feeling when I exercise vs when I don’t. It has become such a fundamental part of my daily routine and I honestly couldn’t imagine life without it. Doing something that makes you feel good in body and mind can be really powerful. In this post I’m going to share some reasons, you should consider exercise for improving your mental health.
Helps to reduce stress and anxiety
When you are dealing with a stressful situation, it’s all too common to let it consume every moment of your life. The worry of it can eat away at you until there is nothing left. And honestly, when you aren’t feeling yourself the idea of exercise can feel like the last thing on earth you would want to do. But in truth exercise forces you to be more present and gives your brain something else to focus on. You also use more energy to exercise which can help you sleep better and put the late-night feelings of anxiety to bed.
Build on confidence
Through exercising consistently, you get a better grasp on what you are capable of and are more likely to push yourself further in the future. Take running as an example. It can be really tough to start and you might find yourself needing to stop often. However, with regular practise you will be able to build up stamina and be running distances you never thought possible. As you develop in your practise you will feel stronger and more confident both physically and mentally, which then makes the habit a lot more satisfying. Also if you have goals in mind you want to achieve it will feel incredibly rewarding once you reach them.
Depression is lessened
Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise and maintaining a consistent routine can help to ease feelings of depression. Taking part in an activity of some form helps to break the cycle of negative thinking. Depression can make you feel like nothing is possible but if you have the strength to do a workout you are proving to yourself the very opposite. Exercise is extremely powerful and can allow your mind to welcome in more calm and positive thoughts. I always try to start my day with a long walk, yoga practice, or run and find that really helps me to feel more purpose for the day ahead.
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Better social connections
If it’s a struggle for you to find motivation, it can be great to have someone else to exercise with. A friend or someone you can count on to do the activity together will make you more inclined to follow it through. It provides an opportunity to catch up on life while working out which is a win-win if you ask me! On the other hand, if there is a sport or activity you enjoy doing but no one around you also likes them you shouldn’t see that as a setback. There are plenty of clubs and gyms you can join where you can be around other like-minded people. Also, if you are new to exercise it’s really helpful to lean on others for support and advice on how you can build your confidence and become better with time.
No matter what exercise you do it can have a significant impact on your mental health and wellbeing. With a regular exercise routine, you will start to take care of yourself a lot more and be more conscious of the steps you take towards living a healthier life. You should choose something you love to do and commit yourself to it and I’m certain you will see a considerable difference in how you are feeling.
Do you consider exercise as a means for improving your mental health?