How Regular Exercise Can Improve Your Mental Health
We are often guilty of only thinking of exercise as a means to a perfect bod (what even is that, btw?). But, what exercise does is help to give you mental clarity, energy, and even better sleep. That is what we want to focus on here. How can regular exercise help improve your mood rather than your waistline? After all, it is far more important. And—hey— you may reap those physical fitness benefits as well! So, let’s dive into that now!
Elevate Your Mood.
We all have those days where everything is going wrong. There was a permanent marker in the laundry machine, our toe jammed against the bed rail, and the dog got out of the fence, all in a matter of 5-minutes. Often, these little things cause our mood to slump, and we can remain in that headspace for the rest of the day. But, what if we told you there is a way to turn that frown upside down? There is! And that answer is moving and grooving. There is evidence that it can take as little as 5-minutes of simple aerobic exercise to start to feel the mood-elevation effects. So, if you feel like nothing can turn your day around, give yourself 5 minutes on a quick walk around the block and see what happens! If there’s a chance that this self-care strategy can help, it is better than staying down in the dumps all day.
Exercise, Depression, and Anxiety.
Several studies have been done on the effects exercise has on mental health problems. You can find studies from Harvard and several other credible institutions all over the web. The ones we have come across seem to say the same thing—that exercise therapy for mental health helps to reduce the symptoms of depression and even anxiety. Some therapists are even using physical activity and exercise as an addition to therapy for mental well-being. Which, for those of us who suffer from these ailments, is a pretty exciting concept. Stretching for 30 minutes, in some cases, has been shown to reduce symptoms as well. The point is, you don’t have to do a ton of work to get a ton of results. When we are feeling down, it can be hard to get to the gym. We understand that. That’s why taking a walk outside, or making yourself do relaxing yoga poses in your living room could be a great idea in those difficult moments.
Improve Your Sleep.
The National Sleep Foundation outlines studies that suggest that exercise improves the sleep of those who suffer from chronic insomnia. Researchers believe that this is linked to the decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Improve Your Self- Esteem
Our self-esteem can change the way we look at our days and the positivity that we put out into the world. One significant benefit of exercise is that it will make you feel proud of yourself. Having chiseled abs isn’t the point. Seeing that you beat your mile by 20 seconds, or feeling your shoulders pop out a bit after a gym session could be enough to give you that extra boost you need to put your best face forward.
Overexercising is a No-No.
One thing is common in all these mental health benefits. You don’t need to exercise a ton to see significant results. We know that it is easy to fall into the trap of overexercising, but what that does is the opposite of these positive impacts. Your body will be overworked, so you will underperform, which could lead to bad moods, poor recovery times, and even a weakened immune system. So, don’t go from zero exercise to three hours a day. Having a well-rounded and sustainable self-care routine is important. Keep it simple, give yourself small attainable goals, and allow for active rest days where your workout is a walk or stretching session. We want you to build up your routine to be the strongest, healthiest you. And that means you’re in it for the long haul. So, don’t rush the process by overexercising.
Our gyms have all the equipment, classes, and amenities you need for exercise and recovery at all our locations. Stop on by and see what we have to offer. We can’t wait to get to know you!
*We are not licensed therapists. You should not rely on this information to substitute or replace medical advice or treatment. Always consult a health care professional if you have any questions about your mental and physical health and well-being.