Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise (also known as endurance activities, cardio, or cardio-respiratory exercise), has a range of benefits for your mental health. Physical activity releases endorphins to your brain which will make you feel happier, calmer, and help you to clear your mind. There are several other means by which exercise can help you keep both mind and body in shape.
Studies have shown that regular exercise helps to reduce the risk for diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even some cancers. Since poor physical health can be one of the primary causes of feeling stressed or, at the very least, contribute to increased anxiety levels in stressful situations, regular exercise can help reduce stress by giving us less to be stressed out about.
Issues, such as muscle or joint pain, can be improved with regular exercise, allowing you to feel better, stronger, and overall healthier. In turn, you will feel more capable of taking on stressful situations, and less likely to be worried about dealing with pain and discomfort. With less pain, you will be more likely to engage in social activities, which can decrease your stress and help prevent depression and other mental health illnesses.
Exercising regularly can help improve your physical appearance by building muscle mass, increasing tone, and helping to lose weight. This can help to boost self-esteem, further increasing self-confidence levels, which in turn can have a positive effect on reducing your stress levels.
GETTING STARTED WITH EXERCISE
If your lifestyle has been more sedentary than active recently, a gentle exercise routine is often
enough to help improve your stress levels. If you are taking up regular exercise for the first time, or have not exercised in a while, it is important to ensure that you start off slowly and steadily to give your body time to adjust to the increased activity and gradually improve your strength.
Jumping straight from the sofa to a strenuous exercise routine can do more damage than good. Do not feel discouraged if you can only do a little bit of exercise at first – as you continue the routine, you will be able to increase the amount of exercise you do.
Yoga is an ancient and complex practice designed to improve fitness levels, strength, flexibility, balance, and mind-body awareness; additionally, yoga assists in clearing the mind and reduces stressful thoughts and emotions.
Practicing yoga not only allows you to improve your levels of fitness and strength to be healthier overall, but it helps you to feel more at peace within yourself and everything around you. Yoga is often associated with mindfulness meditation, breath control, and specific bodily postures which can be extremely useful for health and relaxation. It is a great activity for you if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease.
Another benefit of yoga is the social aspect. Joining a yoga class means that, in addition to the physical and mental health benefits of taking part in yoga, you will also be able to reap the social benefits of meeting new friends and getting support, something which can be incredibly useful in dealing with stress and anxiety.
YOUR REGULAR ROUTINE
While exercise can create a great ‘quick fix’ for those who are feeling anxious and stressed, sticking to a regular exercise routine can improve symptoms in the long run. Doctors recommend to people suffering from chronic stress, depression, or anxiety to make sure they get plenty of time in the gym.
Have no worries if you cannot or do not want to join a gym or fitness center, as there are plenty of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. For the best physical and mental results, you should mix a range of cardiovascular and weight training exercises. Examples include walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, along with exercises such as push-ups, squats, lunges, sit-ups, crunches, and stretches. Combining these two types of exercises will not only improve your mental health by releasing feel-good chemicals to your brain, but you will also reap the benefits of a body which is stronger and healthier.