Mental Health and Exercise
Updated: Jan 26
What does being physically active mean? Exercising, working out, staying fit is something that is required for you to do in order to stay healthy.
Doing physical activity includes doing anything that involves us moving our bodies.
According to MIND, individuals with mental health conditions are more likely to consume too much alcohol, be overweight and have a poor diet.
That is why staying active is vital!
There are different ways of exercising include some of the following: – Dancing – Walking – Cycling – Swimming – Playing tennis
Benefits of working out Not only is exercising good for your physical health (lose weight and improve your sex life, ow yeah) but it’s great for your mental health.
A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal said that participants who exercised more often had approximately 1.5 fewer bad days a month than those who didn’t exercise.
However, it cannot be confirmed that exercise is the sole cause of improvement of mental health.
There are even more benefits: – Better sleep – Improved memory – Improved self-esteem; working out and seeing results is the greatest thing.
I read an article published by BBC titled, ‘Depression, anxiety, OCD- running helped us beat them’. Several contributors to the article stated that they had mental health conditions and they said that running helped them to combat symptoms of their conditions and improved their self-esteem. Check out the article here.
So… you know that working out is good for your physical and psychological well being, but you have no idea where to start. Don’t worry, I got you.
If you are a novice when it comes to working out, take it one step at a time.
– Take it slow- going all out in a workout for the first time is not the best idea as you will burn out very quickly. Instead, why not start with dancing. Doing a physical activity that you enjoy will encourage you to do it again.
– Why not learn a dance online?! I used to dance all the time so I’m going to learn a dance on YouTube. It’s been years so I learned actual choreography and I really do miss going to dance classes.
– Home workouts- Going to the gym can be daunting at first so why not start with home workouts. There are millions online that target specific muscle groups. Why not give it a go?!
– Going to the gym but scared to go alone? Why not go with a friend?! Having a friend encouraging you to go to the gym can help you become more comfortable with how to use machines and be more comfortable as you’re with someone who can push you.
– Walking- You must start somewhere. Walking, getting your body moving is a great place to start. I live on a hill and walking up a quarter of the hill; I struggle to gather my breath lol.
Having a schedule is one way you can find time to work out. Write your own timetable; write in when you go to work, travel, cooking, time with your friends and time to work out.
It may be a good idea to write a list of activities/hobbies that you would like to do as a starting point. I mentioned dancing before. What about going to visit a friend. Instead of getting the bus, why not walk to your friend’s house?
There are many ideas when it comes to exercising. I follow several fitness accounts on Instagram that display different exercises including home and gym workouts.
Going to the gym is my form of therapy. I have been active in the gym for about 6 years consistently, so it is second nature to me. At first, I was very nervous, so I went with my mum and once I became more comfortable, I went by myself. However, it took me a while to get comfortable in that environment so take your time!
If you are anxious about going to the gym when it is crowded (me! I hate going when it is very packed especially after work), perhaps go to the gym when it is less packed such as very early in the morning or late at night.
Don’t know what machines are for what muscle groups? Research it online if you do not feel comfortable asking people in the gym.
All in all, working out releases the happy hormone, gets you feeling pumped and gets you results and most importantly increases your wellbeing.
What exercises do you like and what are you willing to try?
Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
Take care, XO