Fact Checked

How To Look After Your Mental Health Using Exercise

Improve mental health using exercise

Improve mental health using exercise - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

The primary focus on exercise pertains to the physical health benefits both internally and externally. Most notably, losing weight, gaining muscle, lowering blood pressure, or lowering cholesterol, have been the popular motives to get moving. There definitely exists an added benefit to exercise that occurs simultaneously, and those the improvements in mental health.

The challenges of our daily lives can stimulate emotional responses and reactions that result in highs and lows with our feelings. Life isn’t nor will it ever be problem free, but how we react, and our resiliency leads to better or worse outcomes. The demands of family, work, relationships, and homelife, can make us feel pulled in different directions and stifled by so much taking place.

Your mental health is a reflection of how you handle all of this and often times we aren’t prepared for what comes our way. However, we need to find ways to stabilize our mental health so that our fight or flight mode is better equipped. Feelings happy, sad, or mad, there’s no difference.

Your mental health can impact your physical health. We know that excessive stress can cause high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol. Being depressed can lead to lethargy and isolation. Being in a rut can be hard to overcome and even harder when we remain in the same environment.

Getting out and moving is the first step in the right direction that you can take personal control over. Seeking help is also recommended but to help yourself additionally, you can begin an exercise regimen. If you have no idea where to start, start by walking. If you want more help, join a small group or hire a personal trainer.

It is important to note that exercise levels decreased during COVID, while mental health issues greatly increased. This was a true testament of how exercise is important for not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Most of us feel like we need an outlet or escape to deal with mental health issues, and rather than numbing ourselves with substances or risky behaviors, there’s something better we can do….. EXERCISE.

Here Are 5 Ways Exercise Can Look After Your Mental Health

1. Body Image

Our reflection in the mirror corresponds with our self-esteem and self-efficacy. Not liking what we see can lead to lack of self-confidence and insecurities. Exercise can change your reflection. Be it losing weight, toning, or putting on muscle, when you exercise you are taking your reflection into your own hands. You are the creator of your own image.

When we earn anything in life, the value drastically increases, so when we look in the mirror and know that we have worked hard for our body via exercise, we feel empowered. We can hold our head a little higher, feel better in our attire, and not shy away from mirrors.

Body image is powerful and can dictate our personal level of being comfortable in our own skin. Exercise to create the image you want to see in order to take charge of your mental health pertaining to your self-esteem.

2. Mood Improvement

Positive endorphins are released during exercise which active the mind’s reward system. This is the same reward system triggered by other habits such as alcohol or drug use, however, this is a natural and beneficial type of high. In doing so, anxiety and depression can be warded off.

These endorphins are neurotransmitters that tell your brain you are feeling good and you want more of this feeling. Ever heard of the “runner’s high”? A feeling of euphoria can be reached via exercise. Exercise is natural mood boosting medicine for your mind.

When you are doing something positive for yourself, this transcends into feeling positive and more optimistic about life.

3. Stress Reduction

Stress Reduction
Getting away from life’s demands can be difficult, but having your time to exercise can help alleviate the pressures of your day. Exercise can improve your cognitive functioning and even help with alertness and concentration. Stress can make you feel depleted mentally and exercise can regenerate your focus. This makes you feel less overwhelmed.

You might forget what has been irritating you during exercise which gives you relief. Think of it as your therapy time. You are stepping out of a stress environment or place in your head and “working out” or “sweating out” negativity. Exercise can quiet the noises task master in your head that causes stress among your thoughts.

4. More Energy

Your blood starts pumping and circulating when your body moves. Your heart likes to pump and will start to pump from this enjoyment giving you a new sense of mobility and energy. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you increase your stamina and endurance so tasks that once made you feel depleted no longer require the previously needed energy, which means you can do more.

Having more energy is good for your mental health because you feel more capable, ready, and confident you can get more done. Working on a rundown system or one that is fatigued makes life less enjoyable.

5. Better Sleep

When the brain operates on little sleep, little gets done. Your mind needs sleep to re boot and feel recovered. A foggy brain is not a productive mindset. Exercise can let your body feel more relaxed and tired once you do hit the pillow and help you sleep more soundly.

It won’t necessarily wear you out, but you will feel ready for bed and get to sleep much more quickly versus still having pent up energy from a lethargic and inactive day. Tired muscles want their down time.

Better Sleep

There is such thing as a mind-body connection. When you exercise you are communicating the following to your mental health:

  • You care about yourself and your health enough to exercise.
  • You want to improve something about yourself and are exercising to do so.
  • You want to feel good physically and mentally by exercising.
  • You are worth the time for self-care by exercising.
  • Exercise is part of your lifestyle.

Ignoring your health or procrastinating better health choices have previously told your brain that you don’t have time or don’t care to help yourself.

In turn, your mental health envelopes this mindset which is a downward spiral. Think of exercise this way:

1. Many forms

To be clear, exercise can happen in many different forms. This can include walking, swimming, yoga, weightlifting, running, dancing, hiking, biking, surfing, skating, etc. it doesn’t mean making your way to the box gym 5 days a week for2 hours. Make exercise realistic for your mind. You are trying to eliminate stress, not take on more.

2. Replacement therapy

Exercise can also serve as a type of replacement therapy to improve mental health. Exercise can replace alcohol use, substance abuse, watching T.V., sitting, playing on the computer or different video games, spending unnecessary money on going out, or even taking boredom naps.

3. Self-project

Exercise can be a project for yourself to take on. You can create goals to work towards and start to put all the necessary pieces together of your blueprint. This can be fun too by creating your gym or even buying athletic wear. After all, the best project you can work on is in fact, yourself.

Finally, heal yourself with exercise

Exercise is healing through movement. Trauma and pass experiences can attribute to mental health and while cognitive therapy may be needed, exercise is a type of alternative therapy to assist. You are letting positive endorphins make their way into your mental space. Instead of suppressing or bottling up emotions, you can release them by moving your body in a positive way.

Letting your mind constantly revisit something is not healthy mentally, so exercise can be a distraction for this. I have personally used exercise as a healing outlet. Sitting still and feeling unoccupied triggers negative feelings for me. The silence makes me “feel”, so for me exercising is the escape.

Heal yourself with exercise

It doesn’t mean I’m avoiding feelings, rather, I recognize my mental health waivers when the feelings build up. As someone with anxiety, an unoccupied mind leads to wondering and skimming over all the possibilities that exasperate worrying. When I exercise, I start to feel better thoughts and a better mindset.

Our body hears what our mind communicates to it. Use exercise to start complimenting yourself with the accomplishments and progress you achieve. When you finish a workout, tell yourself, “Good job”. Even when you finish a set, you can keep yourself motivated with positive affirmations.

Exercise opens the mind’s door to better mental health. All you have to do is open that door and step forward. Exercise is the opportunity knocking. If you already exercise, now you have even more purpose to continue.

If you haven’t exercised in years, well it’s time to get moving and now you have just another factor telling you that exercise needs to be a priority. If you are going to live this life, living with better mental health certainly improves the quality of your days and time.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
Author
Facebook youtube instagram

Megan Johnson McCullough

Bodybuilder, Author, and Fitness Model

Megan Johnson McCullough is the owner of Every BODY’s Fit, fitness studio in Oceanside CA. She is an NASM Ma...

View More

0 Reviews for How To Look After Your Mental Health Using Exercise

How To Look After Your Mental Health Using Exercise
How To Look After Your Mental Health Using Exercise Reviewer Rating
3 / 5.0
How To Look After Your Mental Health Using Exercise
Write a Review Please review the Guidelines before posting
X

Hints on how to write a helpful review

A great review should have the following qualities:

  • A helpful review should connect and engage with the readers using personal experience.
  • An excellent review provides the readers with cogent and unbiased information necessary to help them make the best choice.
  • A review must be well-formatted to make reading easier by using multiple paragraphs and avoiding caps.
  • The primary goal of your review must remain to provide accurate and non-salesy information.
  • Above all, let your review be fair and honest.

We have high level of professional editorial section with zero tolerance policy on fake reviews.

To maintain the genuineness of our brand, we ensure all customer reviews submitted to us are verified and confirmed before publishing. Though we might not be a 100% accurate, however, we try our best to ensure being next to best. For a thorough verification of submitted reviews, we spend close to 7 working days before allowing any customer review to be published since we also work on the earliest submissions first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

100 characters remaining.

Your Rating:05

Submitting this review means that you agree to our Review Guidelines, confirming that you are a verified customer who has purchased the product and may have used the merchandise or experienced the service, and providing only a real interaction and experience without ulterior motives or has an affiliate or business with the company in any way. By ticking this box and submitting this review, you also accept that submitting fake reviews is a violation of Health Web Magazine Terms of Use and such conduct will not be tolerated.

5000 characters remaining.

Thanks for submitting your comment!

SUBSCRIBE TO HEALTH WEB MAGAZINE

Get the latest in healthy living, nutrition & fitness, mental wellbeing, beauty & skincare, and more, straight to your inbox!

Loading

Your Privacy is important to us

Medical Disclaimer: The content published on our website, Health Web Magazine, is to inform and educate the reader only and not a substitute for professional medical advice from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have a specific health question or concern you must consult with a qualified medical professional and in the case of an emergency, immediately contact your local emergency services. Health Web Magazine and the publisher of this content take NO responsibility for any detrimental health issues or injuries that result from following advice found in articles, reports/overviews, or other content on our website. All visitors to Health Web Magazine, particularly pregnant and nursing women and individuals taking over-the-counter or prescribed medication, must consult with their physician before starting a new supplement or making any changes to their diet or exercise plan.

All trademarks, registered trademarks and service-marks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners. © 2021. All Rights Reserved. All opinions expressed on this website are the opinion of and were written by Admark LLC, owners/operators of this website. Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these websites published terms of use and all site policies.

X

All Health Web Magazine content is thoroughly reviewed and/or fact-checked by a team of health industry experts to ensure accuracy.

In keeping with our strict quality guidelines, we only cite academic research institutions, established health journals, or peer-reviewed studies in our content. You will be able to find links to these sources by clicking the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) that appear throughout our content.

At no time do we advise any of our readers to use any of our content as a substitute for a one-on-one consultation with a doctor or healthcare professional.

We invite you to contact us regarding any inaccuracies, information that is out of date or any otherwise questionable content that you find on our sites via our feedback form.