Most of Us Can Bnefit from Finding More Ways to Improve Our Mental Health

What improving mental health means may look different to different people but some common ways are reducing anxiety, lowering stress levels, decreasing symptoms of depression, managing ADHD symptoms or even improving sleep or cognitive functioning. One great way to do all of these things is to incorporate exercise into your daily or weekly routine. 

Exercise can help by releasing endorphins which will help you to feel energized. Oftentimes exercise can be a distraction from our negative thoughts and act as an outlet for daily life frustrations and stress. When feeling anxious our bodies can go into fight or flight mode as a defense mechanism and doing exercises like walking or running allows us to fulfill that natural desire to “flight” or activities like kickboxing can allow us to “fight” back at those things causing us to feel anxious.

It is important to choose the right exercise for you to ensure you can stay consistent. Exercising with friends or taking group fitness classes can be an added benefit for the social aspect which is important for good mental health. Having someone you workout with regularly can also help to keep you accountable and motivate you. Getting outside to exercise has its own added benefits as well such as getting vitamin D from the sun which plays a role in our mood. Many people find that being in nature has a calming effect which can help to reduce stress. Some examples of outdoor activities can be walking, hiking, running, swimming, and biking. There are many gyms that offer individual options such as access to equipment along with group classes run by trained instructors. If you find it difficult to get out or to access these options online exercise instruction can be found as well. It is always important to consult with your primary care physician before beginning any exercise program and they may be able to help recommend an exercise routine that would be best for you. Whether you are going for a 15 minute walk on your lunch break or spending hours at the gym, finding a way to include exercise in your lifestyle will surely help improve both your physical and mental health.

Pathways Exercise Article