Exercise and mental health – two things that don’t immediately seem to go hand-in-hand. After all, going out of your comfort zone might be the last thing you want to do when you’re feeling depressed or anxious. But think of exercise and your mental wellbeing as unlikely friends; if you just give them a chance, you’ll probably find that they get along quite well.
But we don’t expect you to just take our word for it. That’s why we’ve decided to present the case for including regular exercise as part of your journey to mental wellness.
Before you get started, give yourself the best chance of overcoming the difficult times by finding the right psychologist using our free service. Click here to start the process today.
Does it really work?
Everyone knows that regular exercise is an important part of physical health. But when it comes to mental health, you might be unconvinced. As hard as it seems, getting your blood pumping a few times a week can do wonders. Plenty of studies have recently shown that it can reduce anxiety, depression and improve self-esteem and negative moods. In fact, it’s even thought that exercise is as beneficial to your mental health as meditating or relaxing.
Of course, this shouldn’t solely be used to treat your mental health issues. The best treatment is to see a psychologist who can guide you towards both short and long-term solutions. But it can be combined with therapy and medication to help you de-stress between sessions.
So how much exercise is enough?
Good news! You don’t need to dedicate a huge chunk of your day to exercising just to feel the positive effects. Studies have shown that moving your body for 30 minutes three times a week is enough to score the benefits. Even better? Those 30 minutes don’t even need to be all at one time. If you have to break them up into smaller increments – say, three 10 minute sessions – so be it! All that matters is that you get that body moving!
So now you’re asking, “what type of exercise will help me feel better?” We can hear the scepticism in your voice. Three 30 minute sessions seem doable, but there has to be a catch, right? We’re happy to report that you don’t need to run a marathon in this time. Instead, find an activity of moderate intensity that you enjoy doing. This could be something like a brisk walk, jog or bike ride; just enough to get that blood pumping and those endorphins flowing. You can always increase your intensity as you improve your fitness, but starting off slow can be a great motivator.
How can I incorporate exercise into my life?
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to conveniently include exercising into your routine, don’t be! Remember that any way you get yourself moving is great to begin with, and you can always work your way up. To help you out, we’ve come up with a few easy and enjoyable ways to include it in your routine…
- Go for a brisk 10-minute walk on your lunch break at work.
- Ride your bike to the train station, to work or to your friend’s house.
- Take your kids to a park on the weekend and play a quick game of soccer, basketball or cricket.
- Park further away from your office or the shops so you can power walk there instead.
- Join a sporting team to add some fun, regular exercise to your routine.
- Invest in a treadmill or stationary bike and get your body moving while you watch TV.
- Take part in a cardio, weights or yoga class at your local gym.
So, the question posed by this blog title remains; can you exercise your way to a positive mental state? Like we said earlier, it’s not a one-step solution to curing your mental illness, however it can certainly help you along the way. Make it part of your weekly routine and see how you feel afterwards!
To give yourself the best chance of overcoming the difficult times, let us help you find the right psychologist. Click here to start the process today.