The mental health of populations all around the world is greatly underappreciated in the mainstream media. Only recently have there been stories about people struggling with depression and anxiety while obesity and heart health has been making headlines for decades. This could be because obesity is easy to see in people. After all, it shows physically. But equally as important is mental health, which seems to have been a taboo topic.
Fortunately, there are exercises you can complete that will not only help with your physical well-being but also your mental state of mind. You can complete these exercises for healthier mental health.
One of the easiest ways to stay physically healthy is to get active for more than 30 minutes a day. This can be a bike commute to work, a lunchtime walk, or a run before dinner. If those things don’t sound like much fun, that’s ok. Find something that you enjoy doing that gets you moving.
Some simple activity can do wonders for your body. The great thing about this is that it can also help your mental health, too. Physical activity releases heaps of endorphins that make you feel happy and more energized. Many people report feeling less stress after a workout. Getting in a short workout can help you feel accomplished, too.
Getting active at the gym is great, but being outside in parks and trails is even better. Several studies show that being outdoors has an even greater impact on happiness and wellbeing. Try finding a local nature preserve to exercise in for both your mental and physical health. Bring it into your daily routine to make it more likely that you will follow through.
A less physically active choice for mental health is yoga. While yoga can be quite a workout, it doesn’t have to be. There are different types of yoga for different purposes; from relaxation to fitness and exercise. Yoga focuses on slow movements and deep, steady breathing to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the opposite of what can make you feel sad and depressed.
There are plenty of yoga gurus on YouTube that you can watch to guide you through a session at home. There is no need to go to a trendy yoga studio dressed in spandex! This is about finding mental space that you can relax in and release your thoughts from whatever is bothering you. Focusing on deep breathing and keeping your balance during poses will certainly do that.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
The opposite of yoga is intense workouts like kickboxing and HIIT workouts. These would be beneficial for people who feel that the best way to get rid of anxiousness and anger is through aggressive exercise. Let out all of your frustration into the punching bag and push through the burn of a high-intensity workout. The theory here is your mental health will improve because you are so focused on getting through the workout that you don’t have the mental capacity to think about much else. Or maybe it’s your thoughts that are motivating you to finish. Whatever it is, it can greatly benefit your mental health.
Whatever you choose, keep in mind that you might not see results immediately. It can take several walks and yoga sessions before you start to realise that what you are doing has numerous benefits. Start small. Going big right away can be difficult and discourage you from continuing.
Do what you are comfortable with and write down a goal to work towards. Writing down a goal means you are much more likely to achieve it. This would be a win for your mental and physical health. There are many ways to help take control of your mental health, and exercise is a great one because looking good can help you feel good.