We all know the benefits of workouts on our mental health. There was a time people would work out to experience the physical benefits but today more and more people are exercising to take advantage of the mental health benefits as well.
If you weren’t aware of the wonders of exercise on mental health before, then perhaps the only silver lining of the pandemic made people realize the myriad of benefits of physical activity now.
The scientific community encouraged physical movement long before the pandemic. In this blog, we’ll explain the relationship between exercise and mental health and the type of exercise regime you should incorporate to get the maximum out of it.
Relationship Between Exercise And Mental Health
The fast-paced life has made anxiety and depression a part of life. Everywhere you go, whoever you talk to most of the time either is or has struggled with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Scientists say that a sedentary lifestyle is the main culprit followed by unhealthy eating habits.
People who exercise regularly don’t only do it for physical health but because of how it makes them feel. It can drastically improve your mood, vigilance, and attentiveness making you perform well in all aspects of your life.
The relationship between exercise and mental health is pretty clear. The more your body moves, the better you feel. It isn’t as complicated as it seems. Here are a few ways that explain how exercise impacts your mental health.
Working out frequently can help with insomnia. It is said that getting a good night’s sleep helps with mood regulation. People usually don’t take their sleeping patterns seriously but how well and how often you sleep determines your physical and mental health.
Any form of physical activity can give you a sense of accomplishment, make you feel productive and experience improved self-confidence as a result.
Exercise greatly improves the hormonal imbalance which is also related to your mental health. Physical movement helps lower the release of stress hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol.
It releases several brain chemicals like serotonin and endorphins., greatly improving your mood and your outlook on life.
To find out in more detail about the benefits of exercise on mental health, read our blog here.
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Four Best Exercises For Mental Health Benefits
Several studies say that any form of exercise that gets your heart rate up and gets you sweating has a major effect on your brain. This form of exercise is called aerobic exercise. It is a full-body movement. An article published in Harvard Medical School Blog states that “Aerobic exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart,”
Here are four types of exercises that boost your mental health.
Yes! It is as simple as that. All you have to do is run or sprint for 45 minutes every day to experience the benefits. Runner’s high is a real phenomenon. It is a result of the “feel good” hormones after you get sweatin’.
Dr Michael Craig Miller is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. He says that “For some people, it works as well as antidepressants.
It is reported that any physical activity including walking or running should be outdoors, meaning if you want to experience mental health benefits then you should avoid working out indoors.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise developed by German physical trainer Joseph Pilates in the 20th century. Pilates was known as “Contrology” because of its emphasis on the mind and body alike.
Joseph Pilates was a staunch believer in the association between mental and physical health.
A Pilates trainer Karen Laing says “Pilates is excellent for anxiety lessening and relaxation. Apart from the feelings of comfort from moving and activating your body, its emphasis on breathing and easing can aid to turn on the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of sleep and relaxation.”
Read this article for a thirty-minute Pilates session you can do right at home.
Yoga is one of the best exercises for your mental health. It works by decreasing your stress responses and regulating depression and anxiety. It is thousands of years old practice and is beneficial for people from all age groups.
Yoga therapists can individually work with people and devise a plan fit for their physical and mental needs. It raises the heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and enables respiration.
HIIT workout is excellent for those who want to get fit as well as boost their mental health. HIIT also known as high-intensity interval training, consists of shorter but intense exercises with a short rest period or mild exercises.
According to The British Medical Journal study, HIIT is effective in boosting your physical and mental health as well as extending your lifespan.
Here is a blog outlining the type of exercises part of the HIIT session.
For your convenience, we have listed down four HIIT exercises you can do at home without any equipment.
Scientific Evidence of Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health
One study concluded that physical activity is associated with reduced cardiovascular diseases, the possibility of stroke, diabetes, and most importantly mental health problems.
Another study conducted by the UK government suggests that regular exercising positively impacts all age groups and is associated with better cardiovascular and mental health resulting in healthy weight status.
It also highlights strong evidence of protection against many life-threatening diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, and several mental health problems.
A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry studied 34000 adults over eleven years. They were asked to report the frequency and intensity of their exercise regime each week.
They were also asked to report any anxiety or depression-related symptoms. The results concluded that those who worked out at least one hour every week were shielded against anxiety and depressive episodes compared to their counterparts.
Starting a new exercise regime can be daunting, but the pros outweigh the cons. Regular exercise is proven to manage anxiety and depression-related mental health issues, alleviate stress, boost your overall mood, help you maintain your weight, and much more.
You don’t have to necessarily engage in strenuous types of exercise, any form of physical activity would suffice, as long as you get your heart rate up and your body moving.