Exercise For Mental Health
It is common knowledge that exercise is good for your physical health. Perhaps less well known is the fact that exercise is also good for your mental health and wellness. Exercise releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, chemicals that control mood. If you struggle with mental illness, depression, or ADHD, it’s probably in part because of chemicals like these. Additionally, there are benefits beyond the biochemical. Regular exercise improves your confidence, your mood, and can even help with insomnia. Here are just a few specific examples of different exercises and how they can be beneficial for your mental health.
Humans are obsessed with water. Dehydration causes headaches, mood swings, and many other physical symptoms while the mere sight of water can reduce stress. The diving response in mammals means that immersing your face in the water is a quick way to reduce stress and slow your heartbeat. Consequently, swimming is a great way to get exercise and help your mental health. It’s especially good for the elderly, people with joint problems, and pregnant women.
You may not think of gardening as exercise, but anyone who’s ever tried to pull a weed up by the roots will tell you that gardening is hard work. In addition to being a great physical workout, it’s also a great way to get some sunlight and increase your vitamin D levels. anything you can do to get outside and into nature generally improves your mental health and wellbeing. On top of all that, at the end of the season, you may have some fresh fruits, vegetables or flowers to enjoy.
Running is probably one of the most common forms of exercise. Like gardening, it can be a great way to get outside on a regular basis and get sunlight and enjoy the natural world. On top of that, you can run indoors on a treadmill when the weather is not good for outdoor activities. Running releases endorphins, like most forms of exercise. In fact, this release of endorphins can be so powerful that it creates what’s known as a “runner’s high.”
If running is going to be too hard on your joints and you don’t have easy access to a pool, yoga is a great way to get exercise and find peace, mentally. Yoga combines physical activity and flexibility with breathing exercises and many of the benefits of meditation. It’s easy enough to pick up yoga. There are plenty of resources available and it takes very little equipment. You can even take a class with an expert and others interested in picking up the habit.
Another great way to improve your physical health at the same time as your mental health is to take a self-defense class. Not only is it good exercise, but it also encourages mental discipline and improves your confidence. Even if you never have reason to use your skills, and hopefully you never will, you will feel safer knowing that you can.
Exercise classes are another great way to help your body and your mind. Not only do they provide guidance and support for how to maximize your exercise, but they also provide a routine and a community. Routine is important for mental health. It’s hard to hold yourself accountable to an exercise regime; classes can help keep you accountable and on track with your goals. On top of that, classes provide a ready-made community where you can find support and all the benefits of social interaction.
If you’re looking for another reason to start or keep exercising, this is it. Exercise is as good for your mind as it is for your body. Whether you’re swimming, gardening, running or taking a class in yoga or self-defense, you can start enjoying the many benefits right away.
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