Physical exercise may contribute significantly to mental well-being and can even help alleviate symptoms associated with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
While exercise is typically emphasized for its physical health advantages, the relationship between exercise and mental health is generally disregarded. Physical exercise may help prevent the onset of mental health disorders, according to studies. Additionally, research indicates that exercise might help alleviate the symptoms of a variety of pre-existing mental diseases.
How can exercise aid in the treatment of depression and anxiety?
Exercise on a regular basis may help alleviate depression and anxiety by:
• Enhancing your sensation of well-being by releasing feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids), and other natural brain chemicals.
• Distracting your attention from issues in order to break the loop of negative thoughts that contribute to depression and anxiety
Exercise provides several psychological and emotional advantages as well. It may assist you in the following ways:
• Increase your self-esteem. Accomplishing exercise objectives or challenges, no matter how minor, may enhance your confidence. Additionally, being in shape might help you feel more confident about your looks.
• Increase your social contact. Physical activity and exercise may provide an opportunity to connect and communicate with others. Simply sharing a kind grin or hello with someone as you stroll around your neighborhood might lift your spirits.
• Deal with stress in a healthy manner. Taking proactive action to combat depression or anxiety is a healthy coping mechanism. Attempting to feel better via alcohol use, concentrating on how you feel, or believing depression or anxiety would resolve on its own may exacerbate symptoms.
Prior to Beginning
If you are new to exercise, it is important to visit your physician to establish the optimum kind of exercise and intensity level for your physical condition.
Exercise capacity might be affected by your medical history, present medicines, and identified diseases.
If you believe you have a mental illness or are already receiving treatment from a mental health practitioner, inquire about how physical exercise might be included into your therapy.
A skilled mental health practitioner can give recommendations about the most effective treatment techniques for your unique situation.
How to Begin an Exercise Program
After receiving permission and advice from your physician, you’ll want to choose an exercise regimen that’s perfect for you.
Are you interested in taking a class? Could hiring a trainer at the gym be beneficial? Do you like to take a stroll on your own schedule while listening to music you enjoy? The key to being committed to a program is to choose an activity that you like.
When you begin a new exercise regimen, you may feel quite inspired at first. This drive to exercise may be quite advantageous in terms of assisting you in beginning your new exercise regimen.
According to a 2017 research published in Maturitas, between two and six hours of exercise each week is ideal for mental health.
Tips for Exercising
• Avoid overdoing it. Take cautious not to push yourself too hard at first, since this might result in physical harm. Bear in mind that although exercise may be enjoyable and can help relieve your mood and anxiety, it should not cause physical problems. Begin slowly and progressively raise the intensity of your exercises over time.
• Commit to your exercise program. Everyone is busy, from stressed-out CEOs to harried stay-at-home parents. Setting aside time for exercise demonstrates that you value your health and well-being. It may take some time before you see a change in your symptoms. Maintain a patient and regular exercise routine for the greatest outcomes.
• Recognize that your motivation may fluctuate during your exercise program. It is fairly unusual for early zeal to wane over time. It may be beneficial to alter your routine somewhat or to explore different exercise choices entirely. For instance, if you’re bored with the treadmill at your neighborhood gym, consider walking or joining a hiking club. These other choices may also provide an opportunity for social interaction while exercising.
• Continue experimenting. Experiment with several tactics to see which ones work best for you. If you have difficulty staying motivated to exercise in the morning, consider exercising in the afternoon. Alternatively, if you realize that you despise going to the gym, consider exercising outside. Continue exploring until you discover something you’re likely to stay with.
How can I begin exercising— and maintain motivation?
Getting started with and maintaining an exercise plan or regular physical activity may be difficult. These actions may be beneficial:
• Identify your passions. Determine the kind of physical activities you’re most likely to engage in and consider when and how you’re most likely to engage in them. For example, would you rather garden in the evening, start your day with a jog, or go for a bike ride or game of basketball with your children after school? Make a point of doing something you like to assist you in sticking with it.
• Enlist the assistance of a mental health professional. Consult your physician or a mental health professional for information and assistance. Discuss an exercise regimen or physical activity routine with your physician and its integration into your overall treatment plan.
• Establish sensible objectives. Your purpose does not have to consist of an hour of walking five days a week. Consider your capabilities seriously and begin cautiously. Rather from establishing unrealistic limits that you are unlikely to reach, tailor your strategy to your personal requirements and talents.
• Avoid considering exercise or physical activity to be a chore. If exercise becomes another “should” in your life that you believe you are not fulfilling, you will associate it with failure. Rather than that, approach your exercise or physical activity plan similarly to how you approach your therapy sessions or medicine — as one of the instruments that will aid in your recovery.
• Conduct an analysis of your impediments. Determine what is impeding your physical activity or exercise. For instance, if you are self-conscious, you may like to exercise at home. If you discover that you achieve your objectives more easily with a partner, locate a buddy to exercise with or who loves the same physical activities as you. If you lack the funds to purchase exercise equipment, engage in a cost-free activity such as frequent walking. If you consider what is preventing you from being physically active or exercising, you can almost certainly come up with an other option.
• Anticipate setbacks and hurdles. Give yourself credit for every modest move in the right direction. If you miss a day of exercise, this does not indicate you cannot continue an exercise regimen and should therefore stop. Simply try again the next day. Persist.