We all hear a lot about exercise and just how amazing it is. How it can make you look good, lose weight, help with physical health and mental health all at the same time. It’s a pretty powerful way of making a change for yourself and living a healthier lifestyle. So, many people get lost in excercise and sometimes feel like it’s only needed to be able to look good. When in fact it’s so much more than that, it’s about the feeling you get afterwards. It’s the sweat you get and the fact you can just let all the stress melt away. Just for that moment that you’re in the zone working hard and living in that moment.

It has such a positive impact on mental health in so many ways. Even though sometimes when people suffer from mental health illnesses they can’t really find the motivation to exercise. Which is understandable. But, the thing is it doesn’t have to be excessive exercise, you don’t have to push yourself too hard to feel an impact. You can literally go for a walk, put your headphones in and just go for a nice brisk walk. Walking has many benefits on its own especially to do with physical health. But not only that walking can help your mental health too, getting outside rather than being stuck in the inside will help more than you think.

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Excercise for mental health 

It’s hard to be able to find the energy to do a workout, especially if you are struggling with your mental health and it’s at it’s worst point. Suffering from depression can leave you feeling very lethargic, which may put you off even wanting to be active. However, regular exercise can boost your mood massively and that still counts if you’re suffering from depression or any type of mental health-related illness. It’s not to say it’ll cure what you’re suffering from, but it’ll help even just a little bit to make you feel a sense of joy and enjoy the feeling after you’ve exercised.

It’s important not to go in too hard and to fast, don’t ever push yourself too hard when you first start out as it can cause serious injuries. Take it slow, start by doing twenty minutes a day, then slowly extend the time you work out. You can walk, run, do skipping, lifting weights,  HIIT there are so many fantastic cardio exercises. One that has a special place in my heart is dance, I personally think it’s such an incredible workout. Just sticking on a YouTube video and following along to some upbeat music. Not a care in the world how you look, but more importantly the amazing feeling throughout and the enjoyment you feel. Another good one is boxing, so good to let any feelings of aggression out and release stress.

You should always do an exercise that suits you, that you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it you will lose all sense of motivation to complete it. You need to be in that moment, let everything you feel slip away for a while and just let your body move and feel good.

Exercise releases chemicals that are known as endorphins and serotonin and their uses are to boost your mood. It’s also a great way to get outside, reducing feelings of isolation and the possibility to meet new people. If you excercise regularly, it can reduce stress massively and the symptoms of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. It can also help improve your sleep, which is vital for mental health too.

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What are the benefits?

Exercise is something that doesn’t just help you lose inches and gain muscle. Of course, exercise is so important for physical health. Those that exercise more regularly will end up feeling an enormous benefit for their well-being. Feeling more energised, better sleep at night, better memory, feeling more relaxed and feeling more positive about life and themselves. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to be able to enjoy the benefits of excercise and the way it helps your mental health. No matter your fitness level, your age, you can learn to exercise and use it as a positive tool to help you feel better.

It can help with a sharper memory and thinking, the same endorphins that make you feel happier also help you concentrate. They make you feel ok mentally to be able to do tasks at hand. It also helps the growth of new brain cells and it also helps age-related decline. It also helps with sleep, and some of us often forget just how important it is to sleep well at night. We take sleep for granted and just how good it if for our bodies. Short bursts in the morning or the afternoon can help your sleeping patterns. If you prefer to be someone who’d rather work out at night, afterwards doing some yoga or a gentle stretch can really help sleep.

It makes you feel better about yourself massively, gives you more confidence and better self-esteem. It’s an investment in your mind, soul and body. When it becomes a regular routine, it can really let your self-worth grow and make you feel determined and powerful. Not only that but you’ll feel better about how you look and by reaching certain goals you’ll feel that sense of achievement.

It’ll help when you’re next faced with something that is mentally or emotionally challenging. Exercise can help you cope in a healthy way, rather than resorting to drugs or alcohol or other forms of negative behaviour that will only make your symptoms worse in the long run. Regular exercise can boost your immune system and help that by reducing stress.

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Depression

Exercise is just such an incredible thing, it’s also a powerful way of fighting them awful times that depression brings with it. It helps all kinds of changes with the brain, it reduces inflammation, helps neural growth and new patterns of activity promote a sense of feeling calm. Also whilst releasing endorphins and exercise can serve as a kind of distraction. It allows you to find some time to yourself and to break out of that negative cycle of thoughts that feed on depression.

Anxiety

Working out is an effective anxiety treatment and one that serves its purpose in many ways. It relieves stress and tension, not only that but boosts mental and physical energy. Whatever you do to get your body moving, is up to you as long as you’re enjoying it. Try to notice the feelings of being able to jump up and down or stomp your feet on the floor. Being able to dance your heart out and use all that power inside of you. This will not only help you physically but will help cancel out the negative thoughts that begin to run through your head.

Stress

It’s so easy to stress and it’s hard to stop stressing out but when you’re under stress your body goes through a lot. Muscles begin to tense, in your neck, face and shoulders. It makes your body feel painful and can often lead to a headache. You may experience tightness in your chest, pounding heartbeat and muscle cramps. The discomfort of these symptoms can then lead to a load more stress. Creating this harsh cycle between the body and mind. Exercise is a fantastic way to break the cycle. Releasing the endorphins, physical activity helps relax the muscles and relieve tension. When your body feels better your mind will too.

PTSD and trauma

Exercise can help your nervous system feel better and then begin to move out of that stress from PTSD and trauma. Rather than letting your mind go on a wander. Instead, you’ll pay close attention to the sensations you begin to feel in your body and the way your body moves. An exercise that includes both your arms and legs moving is great. From running, walking, swimming, weight training or dancing.

ADHD

Physical activity has huge benefits for those that suffer from ADHD, it improves concentration, motivation, mood and memory. It also immediately gives your brain a boost, all of which involves letting your attention be focused.

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What if I feel low, how do I overcome that to start working out?

It’s better to take steps and sometimes you might not feel like it at all and that’s ok if you physically can’t bring yourself to it. But it’s important to reliase, you don’t have to work out for two hours a day, even ten minutes is enough. If you feel tired or stress, it may feel like working out would make it a lot worse. But that’s far from the truth, physical activity is a powerful way to energise you. It reduces fatigue and increases energy levels. If you feel very tired, say to yourself lets do a short workout for ten or so minutes. You’ll most likely want to carry ongoing.

If you’re feeling depressed, the thought of having to add another thing to do may seem very overwhelming. Just remember that exercise makes us do whatever we need to do better. If you begin to think of exercise as a chore, then you’ll lose motivation. If you think of it as something you enjoy and that makes you feel so good after then it’ll have major benefits. If you have a busy schedule, you’ll find ways that you can fit it in. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time, as long as it’s something.

Something we’re all too guilty of is feeling bad about ourselves and constantly putting ourselves down. We’re most of the time our worst critic. No matter how much you weigh, or how much you know about the fitness or even your age. You can still workout and feel good for it afterwards, just the same as someone who is advanced.

If you have a disability, arthritis, or any other type of injury or illness that prevents you from working out than talk to your healthcare provider. There are always ways you will be able to safely exercise, but it’s best to talk to a professional first. You should never ignore the pain if you’re feeling it, instead of doing what you can when you can and if you feel ok to do so.

It’s ok to be able to start small, in fact, it’s actually the best way. It’s best to set achievable goals and work from there. It’s also a good thing to do your workout when you’re feeling the most energised, perhaps that’s in the morning. Any type of exercise, for however long can help your mood, boost your energy levels and most importantly make you feel good.

If you’re looking for any online counselling or walk and talk therapy whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children, you yourself need it or you’re a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky. You can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information and what there is to offer.

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