You already know that exercise is good for your body. But did you know it can also boost your mood, improve your sleep, and help you deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and more?
Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. Sure, exercise can improve your physical health and your physique, trim your waistline, improve your sex life, and even add years to your life. But that’s not what motivates most people to stay active.
Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood. And you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits.
Exercise has other benefits:
· Sharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand.
· Higher self-esteem. Regular activity is an investment in your mind, body, and soul. When it becomes habit, it can foster your sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful.
· Better sleep.
· More energy. Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go.
· Stronger resilience. Regular exercise can help boost your immune system and reduce the impact of stress.
Reaping the mental health benefits of exercise is easier than you think
· Even a little bit of activity is better than nothing. You don’t have to do hard core lengthy workouts to benefit.
· You don’t have to suffer to get results. A nice walk or stretching is all that is needed some days.
Overcoming obstacles to exercise
Even when you know that exercise will help you feel better, taking that first step is still easier said than done. Obstacles to exercising are very real—particularly when you’re also struggling with a mental health issue.
Here are some common barriers and how you can get past them.
· Feeling exhausted. When you’re tired, depressed, or stressed, it seems that working out will just make you feel worse. But the truth is that physical activity is a powerful energizer. If you are really feeling tired, promise yourself a quick, 5-minute walk. Chances are, once you get moving, you’ll have more energy and be able to walk for longer.
· Feeling overwhelmed. When you’re stressed or depressed, the thought of adding another obligation to your busy daily schedule can seem overwhelming. Working out just doesn’t seem practical. However, if you begin thinking of physical activity as a priority (a necessity for your mental well-being), you’ll soon find ways to fit small amounts of exercise into even the busiest schedule.
· Feeling hopeless. Even if you’ve never exercised before, you can still find ways to comfortably get active. Start slow with easy, low-impact activities a few minutes each day, such as walking or dancing. There are so many on-line classes available, try out that class you are interested in, doing it virtual makes it so much easier.
· Feeling bad about yourself. Are you your own worst critic? It’s time to try a new way of thinking about your body. No matter your weight, age or fitness level, there are plenty of others in the same boat. Ask a friend to exercise with you. Accomplishing even the smallest fitness goals will help you gain body confidence and improve how you think about yourself.
· Feeling pain. If you have a disability, severe weight problem, arthritis, or any injury or illness that limits your mobility, talk to your doctor about ways to safely exercise. You shouldn’t ignore pain, but rather do what you can, when you can. Divide your exercise into shorter, more frequent chunks of time if that helps, or try exercising in water to reduce joint or muscle discomfort.
We all struggle with motivation, think of your mental health and your long-term goals. Team up with a friend, even if remote, to help you and call you out to get your ass in gear. We are all in this together, make your mental health a priority!
For those who are looking for virtual wellness classes, check out our schedule, https://www.destinationwellness.uk/wellness.