01 Aug The Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health
Having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body–and in order to maintain one, we must pay attention to the other as well. Regular exercise is a good way to improve both your mental and physical health, with several proven benefits for both your mind and body.
The recommended amount of exercise is between 75 and 150 minutes a week, and while this may seem like a lot for some people, it indicates that as little as 10 to 15 minutes of exercise a day can lead to better overall health. And the good news is that it doesn’t have to be an intense workout session–every activity that increases your heart rate and gets your body moving is beneficial for you.
Mental illness and the benefits of exercise on mental health
Several studies have proven the positive effects of exercise on people with mental health issues. Physical activity releases serotonin and endorphins in the brain, which are also known as the “happy hormones” – leading to an overall lifted mood and increased levels of energy.
In fact, exercise is being used as an alternative treatment for depression, producing similar results to treatment with antidepressant drugs. It has also been proved useful in managing anxiety disorders, as being active relieves tensions and helps the mind focus on positive thoughts instead of worries.
People with other mental health issues can also benefit from exercise, as it can help create a more positive body image, relieve excess energy, and create a clearer and happier mind.
Preventing mental health issues
People who exercise regularly report higher levels of life satisfaction and motivation than those who don’t engage in physical activities, thus having lower chances of developing mental disorders such as anxiety or depression. Being active also means getting out of the house more often, which leaves more opportunities for social interaction and prevents feelings of isolation and low self-esteem.
Increased levels of stamina and endurance due to regular exercise also help in feeling more confident and motivated, which plays a role in maintaining a healthy mindset and positive thinking. Moreover, it has a great effect on your sleep too–by using up excess energy and helping your brain unwind, you may experience an improvement in the quality of sleep you are getting, while also being able to fall asleep faster.
Where to start?
Starting a healthy routine and taking up exercise may seem intimidating, and you might not know where to start. This is especially true for people with pre-existing mental health conditions, which mean they are possibly lacking the motivation and energy to take up a new activity.
It is important to remember that you don’t have to start big! A 15-minute walk certainly doesn’t sound as impossible as a two-hour gym session, but it still has benefits for your health. Choose an activity you feel comfortable with and try to implement it into your daily routine. You will probably find that over time, it will get easier to find the motivation for it.
What activities to do?
There are many inexpensive ways to get moving, and there are activities for every level of fitness. If you have never exercised before, you can start with small steps – walking or light jogging for short distances is a good way to get your body used to moving.
However, exercise doesn’t have to be dull – if traditional workout plans don’t make you excited, you can always get creative: go hiking around your hometown, jump on a trampoline or have a solo dance party, as these activities all count towards the exercise amount you are getting.
And you don’t have to do it alone – including your friends or family in the activities you are doing can make you more motivated to get started and make you look forward to getting out of the house.
Timi is a content creator and she likes to maintain a healthy lifestyle, therefore she teamed up with BuyRope to put together this piece of content to show you the benefits of exercise on mental health.