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The 7 Best Exercises to Improve Mental Health

Do you know which exercises are best for your mental health? Firstly, you must understand that the best exercise is the one that you enjoy doing. There are more chances to stick to exercise for a long time if you move in a way you enjoy. I have crafted “The 7 Best Exercises to Improve Mental Health” article for you so you can feel happier, positive, and less stressed. 

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Exercises to Improve Mental Health - a brain and dumbbells

YOGA

Yoga is a type of exercise where you move your body into several positions to become more fit and flexible. It improves your breathing, relaxes your mind, and is based on spirituality. It is close to thoughtful breathing exercises and meditation that help you with relaxation and tranquility. 

Further, there are several types of yoga available; you can try a few until you find which one is best for your needs. It might be from a spectrum from totally calming meditation classes to more physically demanding options.

The benefits of yoga exercise make it a well-regarded practice tool for psychotherapy. It improves your mental health by:

  • Increasing body awareness 
  • Easing stress 
  • Relieving muscle tension 
  • Combating anxiety 
  • Improving your mood 
  • Helping you to get more robust and more flexible. 

This mind-body practice is another gentle way to exercise for better physical and mental health. This exercise might be proved a calming exercise which is why many people regularly enjoy the mental health benefits of yoga. It might help to ease depression and lower anxiety. If you practice yoga consistently, that will help lower your heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and boost serotonin and cardiac output.

RESISTANCE TRAINING

Resistance training involves pushing or pulling against some force that might be free weights, weights machines, or even your body weight. It has many positive effects on your body, from improved bone health to improved functioning in your everyday life. This training helps in improving strength and building muscle.

Resistance training could positively affect our mental health in many ways. It might be the best exercise if you want to lower anxiety, improve cognition, improve memory, and sleep better. Additionally, it is an excellent way to boost self-esteem and confidence, which is highly associated with mental wellbeing and positive physical.

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If you’re not sure to get into resistance training, you can always ask a personal trainer at your gym for the guidelines. If you want to know more about resistance training, you can check our informational article “The 9 Best Resistance Band Exercises to Tone the Entire Body.”

HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) 

If you’re looking for a mood-boosting and challenging workout that help you give emotional well-being, then HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT) could be a good option for you. It helps to increase your heart rate, requires little to no equipment, and can be done very easily.

Gentle exercises are not the only option when you think about Mental Health exercises. For something challenging and time-saving, you better go for a short and high-intensity workout. Leave your comfort zone and give yourself a strong sense of accomplishment to boost your mood and self-esteem.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an excellent way to exercise, save time, and get your heart racing. It can give you a strong sense of accomplishment, which helps to boost your mood and self-esteem further.

RUNNING

Running like walking is a free and celebrating exercise that you can do in the open air or just step onto the treadmill. Running in fresh air gives a feeling of emotional well-being and excitement, or you can say mild euphoria. Running combines physical fitness with mental wellbeing. 

One thing must be clear you don’t have to exercise for a full hour or make it challenging to benefit your well-being. If it suits you better, you can break it up into small manageable chunks throughout the day. You may consider running like a tamer option for staying healthy, but you should never forget that the joy of it is that it’s free. 

On the run, mood-elevating endorphins combine with the post-run ‘runners high’; it encourages a feeling of well-being. Moreover, runners also regularly celebrate the benefits of stress relief and better sleep. It also improves emotional well-being, relieves anxiety, and fights depression.

STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength train includes lifting weights and bodyweight exercises. These exercises improve our self-love and make us physically and mentally strong and more resilient. You might have a question: Are there any better mental and physical health activities?  A recent study revealed that people who like playing soccer, baseball, and hockey had fewer bad mental health days.

We’re, after all, social animals; we need activities to fill that gap. It strengthens our psychological health and improves our overall health. Strengthening exercises give us stronger muscles, increase bone mineral density, stop sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss), and many more.

Here is an outstanding video championing Exercises to Improve Mental Health:

Link Between Mental Health and Resistance Exercises

Now let’s look at the link between mental health and resistance exercises.

Weight training helps overall well-being.

Genetic Coach Paul Rose says:

“I see strength training as a highly meditative practice. It starts with mobility and prolonging session to get how your mind and body are feeling on that day and how you will approach the session – priming your muscles and movement patterns before the main event.”

Focusing solely on tasks gives you a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when you reach goals. 

Lifting eases depression

Depression is a common illness these days. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people worldwide suffer in one way or another. they have a low appetite, loss of interest in routine activities, mood and sleep problems.

If you have a similar problem, then weight lifting can surely help. A meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials, totaling 1877 subjects, has shown that resistance training significantly reduced depression among adults. Brief analysis showed that these mental health benefits were more prominent for people performing low-to-moderate intensity strength training.

Weight training helps cognitive function.

Resistance training also helps improve memory, attention, and decision-making. A clinical trial named SMART (study of mental and resistance training) analyzed people suffering from mild cognitive impairment. This syndrome affects cognitive abilities. Resistance training combined with brain training improves cognitive performance with effects maintained 18 months afterward.

Weight training raises self-esteem

Weight training shapes people’s mindsets to believe and feel better about their capabilities and potential. A brief analysis of 113 studies has shown that strength training slightly increases self-esteem, in other words, physical self-esteem.

Lifting reduces anxiety

Fast-paced life and fluctuating conditions cause anxiety and worries about the future. It leads to restlessness, constant worry, shaking, and muscle tension. An analysis of 7 studies showed that lifting exercises reduce anxiety symptoms to a great extent.

WALKING 

It is relatively low impact and gets you out in the fresh air. Going for a walk can help with mental health issues like anxiety and depression and ease stress. Evens a walk of 15minute can be enough to clear your head. Another excellent feature of walking is increasing the intensity as you’d like. 

If you’re new to exercising or have any physical limitations, you can ease your way in with a gentle stroll. As you get more used to that, you can build up to faster walks or take on some steeper slopes to push the challenge. 

You can enjoy all of the psychological benefits while walking, but with the bonus of making your body into a fitter state. It isn’t necessary for workouts to be intensive for being effective- especially when you’re exercising for better mental health. Sometimes, the most effective thing you can do for your body and mind is get out and go for a walk.

BOXING AND MARTIAL ARTS

If you have ever tried boxing or other similar forms of martial arts exercise like Boxfit classes, you must know that it’s a great way of working up a sweat and a fantastic way to let off steam. The punching and kicking movements are ideal stress-busters and an excellent way to relieve any pent-up aggression.

The intensity of the exercise helps with a good supply of mood-boosting endorphins. Boxing and martial arts can help with self-esteem and confidence as you build strength fitness and see your abilities improve. Moreover, you can learn a lot about self-control, focus, and bravery, all of which are incredibly valuable for boosting your emotional wellbeing. 

Some people may prefer intensity exercises; some people prefer high-intensity activities. Some people do cardio, while others may like lifting weights. The perfect exercise for you is the one which you enjoy, meets your needs and goals, and makes you feel good.

Start Improving Your Mental Health Today

You should take care of yourself and try to get the most from life. Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time. You can improve your mental health by following these pieces of advice:

  1. Take a break 
  2. Talk about your feelings 
  3. Ask for help 
  4. Eat well, Drink sensibly 
  5. Accept who you are 
  6. Care for others 
  7. Keep in touch with your loved one
  8. Keep active 
  9. Do something you’re good at

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

You’re familiar with the benefits of exercise for the body, but did you know how it helps manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Not only this, but it also helps to improve sleep and boost your mood after a hefty work schedule. You can use it as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, to give you a creative and energetic outlook, and get the most out of your life.

Exercise is not about increasing your muscle size and aerobic capacity. No doubt, it increases your physical health and body physique, helps reduce weight, improves sexual life, and adds a few years to your life calendar, but that’s not the only motivating factor for people to exercise.

People do so because it gives them an enormous sense of happiness and overall well-being. They feel satisfied, enjoy quality sleep, and perform well in their jobs. It also relieves stress, boosts your mood, and gives you a sense of accomplishment. You can reap benefits at any age without any fitness level or prerequisites. 

Exercise and depression

Exercise is a powerful tool to control depression. It relieves chemicals in your brain called endorphins to energize you and make you feel better. It adds to fight depression in many ways, like it promotes new life patterns in the brain, neural growth, reduces inflammation, and creates feelings of overall well-being. It provides you with quiet time to break the circle of negativity.

Exercise and anxiety

Exercise helps to manage anxiety in the same way as depression. It relieves endorphins, energizes you, creates a feeling of enhanced mental and physical capabilities, and strengthens your self-confidence. Try to incorporate self-consciousness and mindfulness techniques when doing the workouts. It helps you to focus on improve in your mental and physical health. In this way, you can interrupt the continuous flow of negative thoughts and worries.

Manage Stress

Have you ever noticed what happens when you feel depressed? Your muscles might get tense, especially the face, neck, and shoulder muscles. They leave you in neck and back pain followed by painful headaches. You may have muscle cramps, pulse-pounding, and tightness in the chest. Also, you can experience a lack of sleep, heartburn, stomachaches, and diarrhea. 

Prolonged symptoms can lead to a never-ending cycle of discomfort and severe stress. Exercise is an effective way to cope with depression as it releases endorphins which help to relax muscles and relieve tension in the body. It works well even if you don’t have any issues. In general, exercise boosts your well-being and creates a more excellent outlook.

Sharper memory and thinking

Endorphins make you feel good; you can concentrate better and perform well in the tasks at hand. Exercise improves the brain’s functioning by stimulating the growth of new brain cells and delaying age-related effects.

Higher self-esteem

Exercise, in its essence, is a self-investment. It helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle when it becomes a habit. It creates a positive image of your appearance and makes you feel strong. Even small exercise goals give you an instant sense of achievement.

Better sleep

If your sleep pattern is disturbed or you fail to get quality sleep, exercising in the morning or afternoon can help you regulate it. Better prefer gentle exercises like yoga or simple stretching when doing at night.

More energy

Exercising for few times per week gives you a feeling of strength and power. Increase your workout as your stamina increases, and you feel more energetic.

Stronger resilience

Exercise builds your resilience to face life’s difficulties with courage and self-confidence instead of drowning yourself in the sea of negativity and darkness. Regular exercise is the best practice to boost your immune system and cope with stress.

Do exercise when you have a mental health issue.

It doesn’t seem easy to get out of my comfort zone and push ourselves in the gym or work out at home. Especially when you are depressed, anxious, stressed, or have other mental health issues. You feel no motivation, no energy to start the exercise. First of all, be comfortable and make exercise a social activity. Schedule a fixed routine and do activities you enjoy. Start small but with consistency. And never forget to reward yourself.

Final Words

It’s not always about physical health and changing your looks. You can reap plenty of benefits by just following a small daily routine.  We mainly focus on stunning body exercises for boosting our hearts and enriching us with physical strength and stamina. These aspects of exercise are regularly discussed, emphasizing fitness and well-being.

But there is much more to discuss mental health and well-being. Exercises positively impact our anxiety and depression problems and help to improve sleep and build confidence. If you want to boost your energy and socialization, fight pain and improve emotional wellbeing, an average of 150 minutes of moderate exercise in one week might help you in this. It also helps to fight symptoms of depression. These are The 7 Best Exercises to Improve Mental Health for a bit of inspiration!

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Noble

My name is Noble, I have a passion for fitness and all things related to healthy living. My mission is to share my story and help those who wish to make a healthy change. Follow me on socials.

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