We already knew that physical exercise is good for our bodies, and we probably thought that physical exercise is good for our mental health and wellbeing, right?
In case you needed confirmation – it is in fact proven that physical exercise can boost our moods, improve our sleep, help us deal with anxiety, depression, stress, and a whole lot more!
Although having a 6 pack, being able to run a marathon in under 4 hours or making ‘sick gainz’ might appeal to some, and whilst it is important to set out with a goal in mind (more to come on this later), it is in fact only 30 mins a day of moderate exercise that will get you the best results as far as improving our mental health and wellbeing is concerned. A recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day (or walking for an hour) reduces the risk of major depression and anxiety by a whopping 26%.
To simplify the how’s and why’s, exercise promotes all kinds of positive changes in the brain, including neural growth and reduced inflammation – this can induce feelings of calm and wellbeing. It also releases endorphins (powerful chemicals), that energise your spirits and make you feel good – exercise can also act as a positive distraction from negative mental cycles that feed depression. In addition to the above, using your muscles and joints during exercise can alleviate tension in our bodies and in turn reduce the feeling of stress that can build up when we may be struggling with our physical or mental wellbeing.
As well as directly benefiting our mental health, physical exercise can also:
- Improve our clarity of thought
- Improve our self-esteem
- Improve our sleep
- Increase our energy levels
- Make us feel more resilient
All of which will undoubtedly put us in a more favourable position when seeking to keep our mental health and wellbeing in optimal working order.
Top tips for using exercise to keep us in peak mental health:
- Choose something you enjoy – If you enjoy it, you are far more likely to continue with it and get some kind of improvement, which will improve self esteem and keep you coming back.
- Set some goals – Having something to work towards creates a sense of purpose and creates personal drive.
- Make your goals achievable – Smaller goals that you are likely to hit will make you feel like you are progressing and create a sense of achievement.
- Reward yourself for success – Celebrate your victories with something that makes you feel good – it’s all about feeling good after all.
- Make it sociable – It’ll motivate you to stick with it, keep you accountable and you’ll develop some companionship along the way.
- Schedule exercise for when your energy is generally highest – You’ll be less likely to postpone or avoid vs when you are tired or lethargic.
- Get outside – Mother nature will give you extra energy and further improve your mental wellbeing!
Check out our blog for loads of great info relating to exercise and nutrition.
or visit our website to find out more and speak to one of the team.
Personal Trainer, Revolution PTS