When it comes to improving your mental health taking care of your mind and body go hand in hand.
You can’t neglect one and expect the other to thrive. That’s why exercising is so important to improve mental health.
It takes care of your body, which is something we often overlook when trying to reduce anxiety and depression.
We just want our minds to feel ok, not our bodies. And yet once you decide to take care of yourself as a whole, you will start to see a world of difference.
You feel in tune with yourself in multiple ways. And you’ll feel more confident about your life because you’ll feel more in control.
When you decide to put your mind and body first above anything else, you can then start to achieve the things you want out of life. Because we can’t get very far when our minds are in a negative spot, fighting our every move.
And in this post, I want to discuss 10 ways exercise can benefit you and how to get started.
1. Exercise reduces stress
Exercising is a great way to relieve stress because it takes that tension and uses it in a good way.
When you decide to go out on a run after a stressful day at work, it can help to let go of built up feelings
Same with doing some yoga at home, this helps calm your mind down and quickly reduce stress.
2. Exercise helps with your memory
Research shows that exercise may increase the size of the hippocampus, which is a part of your brain that develops your learning and memory capabilities.
Because of this it allows you to remember things better, focus more, and helps your brain cells continue to grow.
3. Exercise helps you cope in a healthy way
When we are anxious or depressed it’s very easy to turn to unhealthy coping like drinking alcohol.
Deciding to go out and exercise instead is a way to actively face what is bothering you.
Which is a very healthy way to cope. When you exercise, you use that anxious energy and turn it into a way to positively get it out of your body.And when exercise turns into a habit for when you’re stressed out, you develop the skills to cope in a very healthy way
4. Exercise gives you more energy
Even though the idea of working out today may make you want to hide under the covers, once you actually get out and do it you’ll have so much more energy.
It’s not easy getting started but try a workout for at least 20 minutes and see how you feel afterwards.
Initially your body will feel tired because it’s getting warmed up. After a few minutes though your body will adjust, and you’ll start to feel your body getting energized from the movement.
Allowing you to have more energy throughout the day and feel more motivated.
5. Exercise improves your self-confidence
Not only do you feel good internally, but you start to feel good externally when you exercise.
As your body gets stronger and builds endurance, you become more confident in your abilities.
And you feel like you look better as well, which is true!
Exercise gives you this feeling that you matter because you want to take care of your body.
Which quickly increase your self-worth and confidence.
6. Exercise helps you get more stuff done
As mentioned before, exercise gives you more energy. And when you have more energy you naturally get more stuff done.
After a good workout at the gym or in your home, you’ll get a boost of energy afterwards that you’ll want to use towards other things.
Like getting a specific project done, cleaning up the house, or doing your favorite hobby.
7. When your body is happy, your mind is happy
You most likely know all the benefits exercise has on your body.
Like a stronger heart, stronger bones, healthier body weight, healthy lungs, etc
And when you start improving your bodies capabilities, your mind follows.
You feel better and have more energy, which helps reduce anxiety and depression.
As we get older, we have to pay more attention to taking care of our bodies or else it causes even more stress.
Exercise is a great way to ensure you’re taking proper care of yourself.
8. Exercise relaxes your overthinking mind
The cool part about exercise is it gives you energy for a few hours afterwards, then your body winds down.
It gets tired, which is so good for people who struggle to fall asleep at night.
When I’m anxious, my mind goes in circles. Making it really difficult to get a normal night’s rest.
But, working out makes me too tired to overthink too much.
When I exercise, my sleep improves drastically. And it can do the same to you.
9. Exercise quickly improves your mood
When we feel anxious or stressed, sometimes we keep it boiling up inside.Which wreaks havoc on your body and mind.
Exercising allows you to get rid of all that negative energy and focus it on something actionable.
Which quickly relieves those bad thoughts and feelings.
Leaving you in a much better mood after you exercise. And you only have to do it for 30 minutes to see quick results.
10. Exercise builds resilience
As you exercise you push yourself to your limits.
Each rep you do when you’re lifting weights or each extra mile you run on the treadmill.
This is building resilience in your mind.
And you need that for your mental health. Your mind needs to be strong to fight off the negative thoughts.
Exercise helps train your mind to do that. When you run that extra mile, you know you can do it.
You teach your brain that you can make it through the painful moments because you’re strong enough.
What exercise is best for me?
So now that you know the benefits of exercise you might be wondering what type of exercise is best for you.
Everyone’s different so there’s no one size fits all.
Think about the type of exercise you hate doing. Maybe you hate to run or swim.
Don’t force yourself to do the stuff you hate just because you’ve heard it’s a good workout.
There are a lot of different ways to exercise. So if you’d prefer not to do intense cardio, opt for watching a yoga youtube video at home.
Or if you want to build strength, look into a free 6-week training guide.
If you want some ideas on exercises, I always recommend the Nike Training App.
It’s completely free to use and has a lot of different workouts to choose from based on your personal preference.
How much exercise should I do?
The standard recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes 5 times per week of moderate-intense activity.
Or vigorous activity for 25 minutes 3 days a week.
If you are struggling with your mental health though, I suggest taking it slow.
Start by exercising for 5 minutes a day for a week. Just so you get into the habit of setting aside time to work out.
Then work up from there. Each week increase your time by 5 minutes.
How do I get started when I feel unmotivated?
I think it’s important to set goals for yourself
Not just in how you want to look, but also how you want to feel.
What do you want to get out of exercising? Do you want to reduce anxiety? Do you want to get yourself out of a rut?
Write down your main goals for exercising, then find things that inspire you.
That could be fitness quotes on Pinterest or creating a fun playlist on Spotify.
Inspire yourself so that on the day you start working out, you want to do it.
Visualize where you want to be.
It all starts with your own mindset and changing that to start making improvements.
Set aside time daily to exercise (it helps if it’s consistently at the same time) and make it a priority.
You can even find an accountability partner who you can tell your goals to.
They can help you reach those goals by pushing you when you don’t feel like pushing yourself.
Exercise is one of many great ways to improve your mental health.
Just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons- to feel better.
Sometimes we use exercise as a way to torture ourselves and our bodies even more.
We deprive ourselves because we don’t love ourselves enough. And when you start to exercise, you have to view it in a way that is beneficial to your mental health.
What type of exercise are you going to work on this week to help improve your mental health? Let me know in the comments below!