Exercise and mental health…exercise doesn’t just make you physically fit; it also helps you be mentally fit, so it’s very important not to underestimate the benefit of exercise when you’re dealing with the challenge of depression. Everyone knows how exercise can make your waistline smaller, make your heart healthier, etc. Very few people know just how crucial exercising is for your mental well-being. Just as there are certain exercises you can use to target certain parts of your body, there are certain kinds of exercises you can use target your mental health. Let’s talk about three of these exercises.
Aerobic exercises are designed to get your body moving and to get your heart pumping. A good aerobic workout will exercise a lot of different muscle groups, and it will make you sweat. That last part, in particular, is also why aerobics is good for your mental health. Because aerobics encourages you to move around a lot and because it is such an intensive workout, it really gets your blood moving. When your blood circulates faster, that means that your cells are getting more oxygen. As anyone who has taken rudimentary biology can tell you, oxygen is what keeps all your cells (including the ones in your brain) healthy and functioning at peak performance. This doesn’t even take into consideration the rush of endorphins exercise provides that are proven to make you feel good!
Yoga is great for your mental health for two distinct reasons. First, much like aerobics, yoga gets you moving. It exercises many different muscles in your body and gets your blood pumping (although admittedly, not as fast as aerobics would). The second benefit of yoga is its calming, stress-reducing effect. Controlled breathing and mental relaxation are large parts of yoga, and they have a very positive effect on your mental health as they reduce stress and anxiety. I have been amazed at how toning yoga is just by practicing the poses and using your own body weight as resistance.
Running is wonderful for your mental health. Many people run outdoors, and studies show that any outdoor exercise is good for your mood. Not only does it get your blood pumping and reduce stress, it also gives you the famous “runner’s high.” A runner’s high results in a flood of endorphins being released into your body which simply makes you feel good!
If you’re dealing with depression, I know from personal experience it’s hard to get off the couch and get moving. It’s getting started that’s the hardest part. Once you get moving and begin to feel better, it’s very reinforcing and will go a long way to helping you manage feeling down and being depressed.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
P.S. Check out all the free recipes for great tasting healthy eating in the Recipe Section at http://ThinStrongHealthy.com