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The Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

Thursday, 30 March 2017 08:00  by Alicia M.

Regular exercise is beneficial to your overall well-being, self-esteem and physical health. A consistent physical fitness regimen has been proven to significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Even a short exercise session lasting only 10 minutes can help improve energy, mental alertness and mood. As a result, it provides a practical way to prevent the onset of mental health complications.

People who engage in physical activity on a regular basis tend to enjoy a better quality of life. We generally feel more alert and content after participating in exercise when compared to periods of inactivity. The impact of exercise on mood is greatest when we’re initially feeling down. Engaging in low-intensity aerobic physical activity for at least three days per week is most effective for boosting your mood.

When it comes to stress, the human body is hardwired to create an uncomfortable response to motivate us to act when we’re upset or feeling threatened. As a result, we experience a wide array of uncomfortable physical symptoms.

Humans tend to behave differently or experience intense emotions under these circumstances. Some of the common signs of mental stress include loss of appetite, sweating and sleeping problems. A rush of stress hormones generally instigates these physical symptoms.

Fighting Depression and Anxiety With Exercise

Health experts consider exercise a viable alternative treatment for many cases of anxiety and depression. This treatment option can work in conjunction with psychological therapy and medication or on its own.

Exercising doesn’t present the same stigma or side effects associated with attending counseling sessions, physiotherapy or taking antidepressants. Physical activity is also known to help treat clinical anxiety. It's an affordable treatment option that’s available to nearly everyone. An active lifestyle has the capacity to support self-management, and it’s also an empowering alternative treatment.

Play to Your Strengths

Once you decide to engage in regular exercise, aim to focus on activities that help achieve specific objectives. Your choices should include activities you enjoy and the more parts of your body that the exercise utilizes the better! Opting for exercises you love makes it easier to stay enthusiastic and focused.

Some activities can be carried out indoors, while others are ideal for the outdoors. Also, participating in physical exercise as part of a group helps everyone stay motivated. The minimum amount of time an adult should commit to exercise ranges between 75 and 150 minutes every week.

Whether you prefer walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike, you’re sure to find activities that are rewarding on many levels. Your choice of physical activity should make you feel warmer, increase your oxygen intake, and raise your heart rate.

Layered Benefits of Exercise on Mental Health

Competitive and structured activities can help you achieve your training objectives while benefiting your mental health. These include baseball, tennis, basketball and many other community sports. They provide a fun and interactive way to stay fit and de-stress.

Once you sweat and your heart begins to beat faster, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated. This prepares you for a more productive and positive lifestyle. Take advantage of non-sport activities that are occupational in nature, too. Also, be sure to engage in purposeful activities like lifting weights and distance jogging, as they have the capacity to increase strength.

Stretching exercises allow you to improve your flexibility. You can choose from several options, including myofascial release, static, dynamic, active isolated and ballistic stretching. Static stretching is the common activity that entails extending specific muscle groups. It can be executed in active or passive mode.

At Brookhaven Retreat, we are strong believers in the mental health benefits of exercise. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you embrace an active lifestyle that can assist in fighting depression and anxiety.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 June 2017 20:01

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