How Exercise and Relaxation Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

five women and two men doing yoga

How Exercise and Relaxation Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

Exercise has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health, so now is the time to take action. Exercise can help with stress management, anxiety relief and depression by releasing endorphins in the brain that improve mood. There are many ways you can exercise without even leaving your home or spending any money! You can do yoga poses for relaxation or meditation, go for a walk outside, dance around your living room to music—anything! With these creative ideas at hand, you will never be bored again. Check out this blog post for more information on how exercise helps mental health.

How Does Exercise Improve Mental Health?

We all know that exercising has many health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of diabetes. But what about its mental benefits?

There’s no denying the association between physical activity and mental health. The benefits of exercise extend past physical health and can improve one’s mental wellness and mood.

So how does exercise improve mood? Exercise releases feel-good chemicals, which are crucial to our mental health. These so-called happy hormones give us a general feeling of enjoyment whenever we’re physically active or participating in similar activities. As a result of exercise, your brain also gets more blood flow, which can improve your mental clarity.

Exercise and Mental Health Statistics

It’s been found that participating in daily physical activity lowers the risk of depression and feelings of distress by 20%-30%. When people manage to set aside 150 minutes a week for moderate to vigorous exercise, their odds of developing depression are 22% lower compared to those who don’t. A person who exercises regularly has an average of 1.5 fewer bad days per month than a person who doesn’t exercise.

Mental Health Benefits You Can Get from Exercise

Reduces stress

Exercise can reduce stress very effectively. By doing squats or jogging for several minutes every week, you can experience lower stress levels, which all of us can benefit from. Exercise enhances the healthy communication between the body’s sympathetic and central nervous systems. This enables the body to cope better with stress.

Helps with depression and anxiety

Regular physical activity can be beneficial to those with depression. It can help distract your mind from worries and help you break away from the cycle of negative thinking, which can feed depression and anxiety. Engaging in physical activity makes it possible for you to cope healthily. It can help you cope with stress, anxiety and intrusive thoughts.

Better sleep

You can regulate your sleep patterns with short bouts of exercise during the morning or afternoon. Exercising makes you feel more tired at night, which leads to better sleep. If you prefer exercising in the evenings, you can consider doing relaxing exercises like yoga, stretches or other gentle exercises.

A good night’s sleep usually follows an exercise session, and good sleep provides a whole host of benefits. Getting enough sleep means you’re less likely to get sick. You’ll also be able to maintain a healthy weight more easily. Plus, you’ll become less likely to suffer from complex health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Increases self-esteem and self-confidence

If you make exercising a habit, it can boost your self-esteem and make you feel strong and empowered. As a result, you’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment whenever you finish your exercise routine.

Lifts the mood

The benefits of physical activity include increased blood flow, which makes you feel more alert and energised. Feeling focused and full of energy is a great way to improve your mental well-being and keep stress at bay. In one study, a majority of participants reported feeling more relaxed, awake and content after exercising than after periods of inactivity.

Exercising for Better Mental Health

If you haven’t exercised in a while, starting again can seem intimidating. However, planning it out can help you get going and make things more manageable. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Pick activities that you enjoy, ones that are appropriate for your fitness level.
  • Start small, and avoid over-exercising. Especially when starting, be careful not to overdo it, as this can result in injury. You can go for simple exercises at the beginning such as going for a walk or doing housework. Afterwards, you can gradually increase your level of physical activity.
  • Mix up your routine to determine which one is the most effective for you. If you have trouble staying motivated to exercise in the morning, consider exercising in the afternoon. Or if you find that you don’t like exercising outside, you could opt to go to a gym.
  • Dress comfortably, and choose an environment that you find relaxing or energising. You could choose a quiet spot in your home, the gym or outdoors to exercise.
  • Establish the exercise goals or objectives you want to achieve. Goal-setting is vital for tracking your progress. Make sure to be realistic in your goals, and keep an activity log of your progress, so you can monitor it easily.
  • Celebrate every small win or goal achieved. Giving yourself rewards can help you stay motivated. You can treat yourself after a workout with a soft tissue massage, an extra episode of TV, some quality time with loved ones or a smoothie.
  • Consider exercising as a social activity. It’s not only more fun to exercise with a friend or family member, but it can also motivate you to keep up with your workout routine.
  • Lastly, it’s always best to consult your physician before engaging in physical activity, particularly if you’re coming from an injury or illness.

Make Exercise a Fun Part of Your Daily Routine

To reap the benefits of exercise, you don’t need to spend hours exercising or endure long, monotonous workouts. AT the VH&F gym, we can help you craft a new exercise plan that’s tailor-fit to your needs. Get in touch with us to know more.