By David Wiener, Training Specialist for leading fitness app Freeletics (www.freeletics.com)
When suffering with mental health issues, getting out of bed can feel hard enough. But on the flip side, exercise is an incredibly useful tool to help combat some of the symptoms.
This is because when you exercise you release 'feel good' hormones, or endorphins which help reduce negative feelings and improve your mood. In addition, exercise can provide a distraction, helping to break up thoughts and feelings which can contribute to poor mental health, leaving you calmer and clearing the mind.
The best workouts to boost your mental health include:
1. Walking outdoors
Exercise doesn’t have to be hard or induce a sweat to be effective, especially if you’re trying to boost your mood. A walk in the great outdoors can be a fantastic way to combat depression and can really help to clear your mind which can positively impact on your mental state. There’s also research to suggest outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression.
Running is a fantastic way to boost your fitness levels quickly, and for that reason, it’s incredibly rewarding. Also, the repetitive nature of running can provide a great escape from your everyday life, giving you something simple to focus on, but also a personal goal or objective to achieve. Lastly, running requires very little equipment and it can be done any time of day, so when things start to stress you out, lace up your trainers and head outdoors.
3. Group exercise
Exercising in a group is a great way to boost your spirits and embrace the social nature of exercise which can deliver huge benefits, especially on your mental health. Working out in a group is also fun, and this too can boost your mood. The fun nature of group exercise will also help you to enjoy your workouts, so you’ll keep coming back from more and reaping the benefits that exercise can offer on your mental health.
Boxing can help to relieve muscle tension that can collect when you experience stress. As you continue to punch, you will find your focus is improved, increasing your concentration and helping you forget the reasons why you are stressed. In addition to building physical strength, boxing can help to make you feel more powerful mentally and give you the fighting spirit to enable you to deal with any of life’s more challenging situations.
One of the main way’s yoga helps to create better mental health is by integrating the body and mind. This practice can help users to understand what they need physically, mentally and emotionally. The continued focus on the breathing can also help to restore a sense of calm and instigate a parasympathetic response from our nervous systems.
Lifting weights or bodyweight exercises can have a huge impact on how you feel and look; building muscle and self-esteem, as well as curbing anxiety. Researchers have also linked resistance training to less shrinkage of your white matter, the tissue that connects and passes signals between different brain regions. This network of nerve fibres can develop holes and lesions as you age, potentially leading to degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s. But lifting weights twice a week can slow this process, safeguarding your mental health both now and in the years to come. If you’re keen to incorporate this type of training into your exercise regime, fitness apps like Freeletics (www.freeletics.com) can be a great place to start, showing you body weight and resistance training exercises and workouts which can be done from the comfort of your own home, and making sure you use the right form to avoid injury. In addition, Freeletics is known globally for their ‘community’ which can add a valuable social aspect to this type of training to provide support and motivation, further boosting your mental health.
tagged in Mental Health