Exercises That Support Mental Health

We all know that exercise is good for our mental health. But the benefits extend far beyond just feeling better about yourself. Exercise can also improve your mood, concentration and sleep quality. The trick is finding the right kind of workout that works for you. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine — especially if you have any health issues!

Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Yoga is an ancient practice that teaches you to focus on your body and breath. It helps you relax, relieve stress and feel more in control of your body and mind. If you’re new to yoga, look for classes that are beginner-friendly—most studios offer classes geared towards people who have never taken a yoga class before. In yoga, you focus on breath and movement to find quietude for your mind. This means you can better deal with whatever the day brings you. Breathing is a great way to relax and calm down when things get stressful. By focusing on your breath and body, you’re able to let go of stress and anxiety so that they don’t affect how well-prepared you are for the day’s challenges.
  • Walking is a great way to get exercise, and you can do it anywhere. It doesn’t require equipment, or even shoes for that matter—just comfortable, weather appropriate clothing and you’re good to go. Walking is also an excellent way to enjoy nature as you take in the sights and sounds around you. Finally, walking clears your mind; it’s easy to focus on your surroundings instead of whatever has been stressing you out! Walking does so many good things for us — it reduces pain and inflammation, lowers blood sugar and increases energy levels. Plus, it’s an easy way to get your heart rate up. Go for a stroll when you have time to kill or need a break from the desk!
  • Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise and it can benefit your health on so many levels. Running strengthens your heart, lungs and muscles, which increases your endurance to perform daily tasks. It also helps you lose weight while improving overall health. Running even provides relief from stress and anxiety since it releases endorphins into the bloodstream—chemicals that make us feel happy! Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise and provides a range of physical and mental health benefits — like increasing overall fitness, strengthening bones and muscles, boosting mood and lowering stress levels. Running is one of the simplest forms of exercise and provides a range of physical and mental health benefits — like increasing overall fitness, strengthening bones and muscles, boosting mood and lowering stress levels. Running feels great! It’s fun to get outdoors in nature while doing something positive for yourself. And while running takes some practice (just like anything else worthwhile), once you learn how to do it right, it becomes second nature very quickly.
  • HIIT (High-intensity interval training) is a type of workout that alternates between periods of intense exercise and rest. It’s short, but it can be very effective. HIIT workouts can improve your fitness, heart health, and burn fat. They are great for people who don’t have much time to exercise, because they take no longer than 30 minutes and can be done in any space—no gym membership required. In addition to helping your body become stronger, HIIT also has positive effects on the brain: “A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that individuals with depression who participated in twice-weekly high-intensity interval training for four months saw improvements in their symptoms.” This may explain why many people with bipolar disorder find that exercising improves their mental health or reduces manic symptoms. HIIT may sound intimidating at first, but it’s actually a series of quick sets of very intense exercise broken up by periods of recovery in between. HIIT workouts can be done at home or at the gym, depending on your fitness level and personal preference.

You may have tried all of these exercises before and wondered if there was something better out there. There are many other physical activities that could provide benefit, such as swimming, bike riding and dancing. It’s worth trying out different activities to see what works for you.

While exercise is great for mental health, it’s important not to over-train as this can lead to burnout or even injuries. Don’t get too caught up in numbers on a scale or push yourself beyond your limits — listen to your body instead! You know when an activity is too much for you because it feels uncomfortable physically or mentally (such as feeling fatigued after running). At the end of the day, we must remember that our bodies are unique and respond differently based on many factors including genetics, gender identity, culture and upbringing. So do what makes sense for YOUR body type rather than following someone else’s rules. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine — especially if you have any health issues!

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