Nearly everyone on earth suffers from some kind of stress every day. Whether it’s from your job, your relationships or a health condition, we all have struggles that can negatively affect our mental health. If you neglect to take the best steps to take care of yourself, your mental state can worsen, and you can suffer in many different ways. Fortunately, there’s something you can do to improve your mental health that’s fun, free and highly beneficial – it’s exercise.
Most people think that exercise is only good for burning fat and toning your body, not for helping your mind. But, new research has shown that regularly being active can significantly improve your mental health and thus improve your quality of life.
So, how can you give your mind a boost with exercise?
Can Exercise Really Improve My Mental Health?
When most people think of treatment for conditions like depression and anxiety, they think of two main things – medicine and in-person therapy. Although both of these can be helpful, they can also both be expensive and time-consuming, and not everyone who suffers from poor mental health can afford them.
Without either of those options available, people who struggle with their mental health may feel like they have no way to help themselves. However, if you are one of these people, you should strongly consider regularly getting active. It is also essential to note that exercise cannot cure mental conditions, but it can definitely help you improve and cope.
Exercising and being active has some surprising and beneficial effects that affect your mind and brain. Physical exertion has been shown to cause the brain to release a protein called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor,’ or ‘BDNF.’ This molecule is critical in the formation of new brain cells, possibly also in the hippocampus, which is a section of the brain that correlates to your memory and learning ability.
The hippocampus section of the brain is often found to be smaller in individuals who suffer from depression or other adverse mental conditions. So, if you experience depression or anxiety and have trouble remembering or learning new things, this could be why. So, because physical activity may encourage your hippocampus to grow, this may be a reason why exercise is so helpful to your mental health.
Another wonderful and helpful effect of exercise is that it allows you to focus on something good. People who have mental conditions often find it difficult to concentrate, which may lead to negative thoughts and mental spiralling. For example, anxiety can cause excessive worrying and paranoia.
When you exercise, you can try to forget your worries and focus on what you’re doing. Focus on your breathing, your body, your actions and your progress. You can work exercise into your daily routine, giving yourself an excellent sense of structure and productivity. While, of course, being active won’t make your life’s problems go away, it can undoubtedly help you centre your mind and prepare you to face your issues with a level head.
In addition, when you work on your body and make progress in your fitness, it can be a massive boost to your self-esteem. When you feel great physically, you’ll feel better mentally, and others will notice your positive change.
Overall, regular exercise is an absolutely fantastic way to give your mind a positive boost that you deserve.
How Should I Start Exercising For My Mental Health?
After reading about the great positive effects of being active, you may be wondering, ‘okay, so where do I start?’ In actuality, there is no prescribable amount of exercise. The simple act of getting up and moving can be enough sometimes, and it’s important to remember to do it regularly. If you are not used to physical activity, you shouldn’t start intense workouts right away. Instead, it would help if you listened to your mind and body and slowly built yourself up.
Many individuals who struggle with mental conditions also struggle with motivation and drive. So, it’s vital that you find an exercise that you enjoy, rather than just an exercise that you can do.
For example, you could try to use an exercise bike as a start. These wonderful pieces of equipment are easy to use and very effective. You just need to hop on and pedal, and you can feel your muscles work and your mind focus.
Where Can I Find Well-Built And Beneficial Exercise Equipment In New Zealand?
With well-designed and fun exercise equipment, working out can easily become one of your favourite pastimes. At GymGuru, we proudly provide New Zealanders with some of the finest outdoor sports equipment around. All of our equipment is built with effectiveness, safety and quality in mind, so finding your new favourite routine will be easy.
Are you interested in purchasing and setting up some fantastic outdoor fitness equipment in your area? If so, our passionate team would love to help you out. To speak to us, we encourage you to contact us at 0800 483 6647 to get the process started.
Your mental health is just as essential and important as your physical health, and you can improve both with incredible equipment from GymGuru.