Exercising regularly has a range of benefits for your mental health. Not only does the actual act of participating in physical activity release endorphins to your brain which will make you feel happier, calmer and help you to clear your mind, it can also help in a range of other ways.
Since exercising regularly can help to improve your physical appearance due to muscles which are stronger and more toned and perhaps weight loss, this can help to give your self-esteem a boost, resulting in increased levels of self-confidence which in turn can have an effect on your stress levels. Along with that, exercise is important for keeping you in good physical health.
Studies have shown that regular exercise can help to prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even some cancers. Since poor physical health can be one of the biggest causes of feeling stressed or at the very least contribute to increasing anxiety levels in stressful situations, exercising regularly can help to reduce stress by giving us less to be stressed about.
Regular exercise can also help with issues such as muscle or joint pain, which in turn can help you to feel better, stronger and healthier overall. In turn, you’ll feel more able to take on stressful situations and will be less likely to be worried about your own health or dealing with pain and discomfort.
Getting Started With Exercise
If your lifestyle has been more on the sedentary side than that of the active recently, there’s nothing to worry about as gentle exercise is often enough to help improve your stress levels. If you’re taking up exercising regularly for the first time or haven’t done much exercise for some time, it’s important to make sure that you start off slowly and gently in order to make sure that you give your body the time to get used to the increase in activity and gradually improve your strength.
Jumping straight from the sofa to a strenuous exercise routine can actually do more damage than good. So, don’t feel bad if you can only do a little bit of exercise at first – as you continue to practice, you will be able to increase the amount that you do.
Yoga for Stress
Yoga is one of the best exercises which you can do in order to combat feelings of stress and anxiety. Yoga is designed to not only improve fitness levels, strength and balance but also clear the mind and help reduce stressful thoughts and feelings.
Taking part in yoga not only allows you to improve your levels of fitness and strength to be healthier overall, but it can also strengthen your mind and help you to feel more at peace with yourself and everything around you. Yoga is also often associated with mindfulness meditation, which can be extremely useful for dealing with stress and anxiety.
Another benefit of yoga is that it is often done socially – joining a yoga class means that not only will you be able to benefit from the physical and mental health benefits of taking part in yoga, but you will also be able to reap the social benefits of meeting new friends and getting support, something which can be incredibly useful for dealing with stress and anxiety.
The impact of Covid and exercise
Covid has had an impact on mental health and it is important to try and exercise during the lockdown periods. In the first national lockdown, Joe Wicks became famous for running exercise classes each morning. Many people took the opportunity to get fit and the take up of cycling and other physical activities was huge. However, as we now enter our third national lockdown the weather is not quite so good and people need to try and find a way of keeping fit as this will help with their mental health. The good news is that Joe Wicks is returning to his Youtube channel.
It is also worth taking a look at the NHS pages – there is some really useful information about gym free exercises.
If you would like any further information about exercise and mental health then please get in touch. We also offer a 15-minute free consultation for anyone who would like to discuss mental health support.