Exercise and Mental Health
Posted on 6th November 2019 at 10:22
Yes, we all know that we should exercise, regardless of our mental health and wellbeing as getting fit and being active is good for our physical health.
But what if you are struggling with your mental health?
Anxiety, stress and depression effect everyone differently and to various degrees. It can stop you from wanting to go out and especially be around people, so this can then reduce the options of exercising greatly. Even if you know you will feel better after exercising, if your anxiety levels increase at the thought of going to the gym, going to an exercise class or just going for a walk, then let’s face it, you’re not going.
Exercise will improve your mental health and wellbeing. When you exercise it releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. In turn, improving your mental health.
Exercise comes in many formats if you are increasing your heart rate, then you are exercising, this could just mean going for a walk but increasing the pace a little. On the flip side you can over exercise, push your body too far, which can then have a detrimental effect. You need to get the balance right for you and regular exercise will make a big difference to your mental wellbeing.
If you are struggling mentally, you may well make every excuse going as to why you can’t exercise today. I’m too tired. I’m too stressed. I can’t face it and the list goes on, but if you do, you will feel better. There are days when even I struggle, but I always feel better afterwards.
What Exercises are good for improved mental health?
That depends on you, it depends what you enjoy. There are so many different forms of exercise that I would be here forever trying to list them and what suits you won’t always suit someone else.
Do what you enjoy! If you enjoy walking, then go for a walk and just increase the pace slightly and over time increase the distance. If you enjoy going to fitness classes then go to fitness classes, or yoga classes or aqua aerobics classes. Although gyms and fitness classes can for some seem daunting. Everyone else will be fitter than me. I won’t be able to keep up. People will be watching me. You need to feel comfortable and safe in whatever form of exercise that you choose to do. The safer and more comfortable that you feel, the more likely that you will go and keep going.
One to one personal training in a private studio is sometimes the best answer, as it’s just you and the personal trainer. So, there is no fear of someone watching you or judging you, even if these thoughts are only in your head. You also have an appointment, which means it’s harder to make excuses to yourself not to go, as you are not just letting yourself down. Although that pressure in itself can be hard enough to deal with.
A good personal trainer will also tailor each session to you and how you are feeling, as some days you will feel better than others. You should also feel better when you leave, even if it’s only short term. After all managing mental health is taking one day at a time, or one hour at a time and a good personal trainer that has trained in exercising clients with Mental Health issues will have a better understanding of how you are feeling and what exercises will help you dependent on your mood.
Benefits of exercising to help mental health
The benefits will vary for everyone, but exercising will help your mental health
• Increased feel good chemicals in your brain
• Helps you switch your brain off, as you focus on the exercise
• Relieves stress within the body, which will help relieve stress within the mind. Stress and anxiety can cause your muscles to tighten up, especially in the neck and shoulder area, so focussing on reducing your physical stress will help your mental health
• Some people suffer with not being able to sleep due to mental health and their brain not switching off, exercising will can help switch your brain off and help you sleep
• Time for you, where you don’t have to be thinking about something or someone else, you can just focus on the exercise
I understand Mental Health, I have experienced close up how it can affect people, which is why I have completed the specialist course in Exercise for Mental Health
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