Why Is Fitness Important for Mental Health - 4 Exercises To Boost Your Mental Health

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You know that unhealthy lifestyles lead to lifelong miseries like obesity, diabetes, cardiac dysfunction, stroke, osteoporosis and early death. You might also be one among those who have decided to work out more recently. But how often do you consider the contribution of physical exercise to your mental health?
In countries as diverse as India, China, the US, and the UK, depression and anxiety rates are at the peak level. There are undoubtedly several “contemporary” facets of this society — increasing social isolation, unhealthy diets, and emphasis on wealth and images. However, another key element is inactivity.
Many of us note that our moods change in the short term with a sunny stroll or tour of the gym. Physical activity is well known in inducing the body to produce endorphins and enkephalins, which are the feel-good hormones of the body that make problems seem more controllable. Emphasising on basic exercises will give us a break from existing issues and negative self-talk. Depending on the activity, people may also benefit from activities of relaxing and vigorous action, and go out & communicate with others, all of which is known to improve mood and general health.

There are several factors that regular physical activity is beneficial for your body while maintaining a healthy heart, and strengthening the joints & bones are few other reasons for your wellbeing. Being active does not always mean that you perform some sports or be regular to the gym. There are several aspects of being active; you need to find the right one that works best for you. Physical activity at a fundamental level means any movement in your body using your muscles and energy. One of the best things about exercising is that almost everyone has endless options and an activity!

What impact does physical activity have on mental wellbeing?

Physical exercise has immense potential to increase our wellbeing. Just a quick 10-minute stroll brings more focus, vitality and good mood. Regular physical activity can improve self-esteem and minimise stress and anxiety. It further leads to the reduction and enhancement of the health and wellbeing of individuals struggling with mental health issues.

Impact on our mood

It has proven that regular exercise has a significant effect on our attitude. The research suggested that people evaluate their mood directly after physical activity (eg. on a walk or housework) and inactivity periods (eg. reading a book and watching TV).

Researchers discovered that after becoming physically involved, individuals feel happier, more awake and calmer than they did after periods of inactivity. They also observed that although morale was poor at first, the benefits of physical exercise were maximum.

Impact on our stress

When cases arise that cause our balance between feeling challenged or bothering our body, the defences in our bodies are weakened. A stress reaction is produced, which can make people feel a range of uneasy physical effects and make us respond differently.

Physical activity helps alleviate tension quite effectively. Study on the working people has shown that in contrast to people who are less active, highly active workers appear to have less stress.

Impact on our self-esteem

Exercising not only leaves a positive impact on our physical health, but it also induces our self-esteem. Self-esteem is how we think about ourselves and how we recognise our self-worth. It’s a sign of our mental health and our capability to deal with any stresses in life.
These mental health caring associations, charities, and support groups will provide professional advice, whether you’re concerned for yourself or a loved one.
Everyone understands that exercise will make us much more physically healthy, but how many of us map out fitness targets to boost our mental health?

Following are five exercises that can help you improve your mental wellbeing:

1. Walking - Research has found out that by doing low-intensity aerobic activity regularly, helps encourage positive thoughts and enhance your attentiveness. Initially, you should start slowly and build pace gradually by increasing the distance. Walking is probably the most effective and easily accessible form of exercise, which can be done anytime, depending upon the weather conditions.

2. Yoga - If you love gentle movements and soothing exercises, then yoga is for you. The best way yoga helps is by using your breathing. Steadily taking long deep breaths helps to cut down the destructive thoughts that loop inside your mind and are hard to get rid of. Calming down the breaths puts your nervous system to rest and clears out all the anxious or panicky thoughts and responses. By simply taking deep-long breaths, you can trick your nervous system into feeling that you are not under any panic or anxiety attack.

3. Cycling - Cycling is one of the easiest and best outdoor exercises for all of us. Cycling helps in increasing your stamina and flexibility not only physically but also psychologically. According to research, it is stated that cycling helps to grow your brain just as it helps your muscles to grow. The ductility used in cycling helps build mental strength, and 30 minutes of outdoor cycling helps in improving planning, reasoning, and memory retention. Thus, cycling is believed to be capable of doubling or tripling the neurons in the brain.

4. Swimming - Swimming is generally good for those who suffer from depression, fatigue or anxiety. Aerobic activities such as swimming provide a calming effect on the development of the brain and serve to regenerate neurons on the hippocampus. Typically neurons are destroyed or damaged due to age, injury, fatigue, or consumption of alcohol. Besides, swimming increases the function of neurotransmitters, decreasing anxiety and stress by increasing endorphins that enhance mood.

More and more rigorous evidence indicates that exercise is essential not only for improved mental wellbeing, but it can also cure underlying psychological conditions. For treatment purposes, exercise seems to be as effective as current pharmacological treatments for varying circumstances, such as mild to severe depression, dementia and anxiety.
There are also outdoor gyms available where some gym equipment is provided in outside spaces for free.
In order to promote physical activity at work, The British Heart Foundation’s “Health at Work” offers suggestions and some resources to get started with.
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