Most of us exercise to improve our cardiovascular health, build muscles, and get rid of excess fat. However, working out has above-the-neck benefits as well. The physical benefits of exercise have long been established. However, during the past decade or so, scientists have put a lot of emphasis on exercising to boost brain health. According to studies, exercise is very effective in reducing fatigue. It also improves memory, helps to sleep better, and lifts overall mood. This is mainly because the body releases a hormone known as endorphin which is touted as the “happy hormone”. Endorphin is responsible for stimulating feelings of happiness and reducing stress.
According to health experts, you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of exercise. Simple exercise in modest amounts can make a significant difference to your mental health. Mentioned ahead are a few which you can easily incorporate in your day-to-day routine
The most convenient and most affordable for of exercise is walking. It is one of the most recommended exercises as well because it is very easy and requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes. Walking can be tailored to any fitness level, medical condition, and age. Walking outdoors in nature allows the mind to let go of its usual worries and concentrate more on the beauty of its surroundings. Experts recommend taking a 10 to 30 minute walk every day to gain maximum mental benefits.
Whether you swim indoors or outdoors, swimming leaves a positive impact on both the body and the mind. Swimming provides a full body workout, as all muscle groups are engaged during the process. Additionally, it also keeps the heart rate up, builds endurance, and helps maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, swimming is considered a relaxing and peaceful form of exercise. It helps lower stress and provides a pleasant way to unwind after a hot or busy day.
3. Aerobic activities
Aerobics or high-intensity exercises (like running, spinning, roller-skating, or dancing) increase the heart rate. When the heart rate is increased, endorphins are released by the body. This in turn eases stress levels and improve concentration, among other mental health benefits.
Yoga combines both the physical strength and mental focus to achieve peacefulness of the mind and body. The breathing techniques, postures, and moving poses help a person relax and feel a decrease in stress and anxiety levels. Yoga is known to improve the mood as well as provide an overall sense of well-being.
5. Tai Chi
Similar to yoga, Tai Chi also involves a series of body movements and breathing techniques. Although some techniques are similar to those used in martial arts, the movements in Tai Chi are helpful in calming the body and the mind. Tai Chi also helps build bone density, lower blood pressure, improve immunity and reduce symptoms of arthritis and heart failure.
Tai Chi is an easy activity that can be performed by anyone, regardless of age and fitness level. Once you learn the moves, you can practice them anywhere and anytime to reap the benefits.
6. Martial arts
Another way to release frustration and tension in the body is to practice martial arts. This form of exercise will keep you active and disciplined. Additionally, martial arts represent a great way to learn self-discipline.
7. Exercise in groups
Another great way to improve mental well-being is to exercise with others. Round up a few family members, friends, and colleagues for a game of football, tennis, or baseball. Sometimes, just getting together with loved ones can eliminate stress and worries. Being involved in team sports is a great way to improve mental abilities. Engaging in a friendly competition will take your mind off worries and will give you something interesting to look forward to, especially if you do it frequently.
While exercise is a great form of therapy, it can also become an addiction. Everything in life should be done in moderation, and it’s important to not overdose on exercise. So make sure you understand your body’s needs and avoid overexercising. Initially, start with 10 minutes a day and increase the time, as your body’s capacity increases. Moreover, start drinking a cup of herbal green tea on a regular basis to calm those nerves and relax after a tiring day.
Tips to make the most out of your workout sessions
The federal guideline recommends 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercises each week along with 1.25 hour of high-intensity exercises. The best way to make the most of your exercise routine is to make a plan which includes a combination of both (high-intensity and moderate exercises.)
Additional tips include the following:
- Find forms of exercises that are fun
- Listen to music while exercising
- Find a workout buddy
- Be patient as you advance with your exercise regime. Remember, results don’t come overnight and you have to put in a lot of effort to achieve your fitness goal
- Keep yourself hydrated with lots of water
- Eat a healthy diet and drink green tea regularly
- Always wear clothing that are weather appropriate and also compliments the activities you will indulge in
Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life but disorders resulting from anxiety affect more than 40 million adults and is the most common form of psychiatric illness in America. If you are also suffering from regular bouts of depression and stress, then try any (or all) of the above mentioned exercises. By incorporating an exercise regimen into your life, we are positive that you will be able to reduce stress from your lives and improve your mental health as well.
Author Bio: Kamil Riaz Kara is an HR Professional and Inbound Marketer. He has completed his Masters in Administrative Science from the University of Karachi. Currently, he is writing on mental health, fitness and lifestyle. Visit his blog and check the latest post on Dementia. Connect him on LinkedIn for more details.