You've probably heard it before - exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your mental health. Many people know that regular physical activity can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing. If you're confused about why exercise makes such a big difference, you aren't alone. Lots of people are slightly puzzled when they hear about the correlation between physical and mental health.
How does exercise help?
Exercise can have both short-term and long-term benefits for your mental wellbeing. Most people find that they feel good after a workout, no matter how hard or painful the experience was. This is because when we exercise, our body releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that have an immediate effect on our mood. If you've ever left the gym feeling energized and productive, this is why.
In the long-term, frequent exercise can help to tackle serious mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. If you include mindfulness into your workout routine, this can also help to regulate the brain's activity over time and make your mental patterns more positive.
This article outlines the scientific reasons for the correlation in more detail.
How much exercise do I need?
The government's guidelines suggest that "adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity" exercise.
If this all sounds too difficult to achieve, don't worry. The more physical activity you do, the better. Even if it means doing a 15-minute yoga session in the morning or before bed, you'll notice the physical and mental benefits quickly.
How can I fit more physical activity into my daily routine?
Routines are hard to break. We all lead busy lives. Finding time in your weekly schedule to add in a workout might seem like an impossible task. Try to find creative ways of including physical activity in your routine. This might mean biking or walking to work a few times a week, taking the family for a hike on the weekend, or even waking up half an hour early to do an at-home workout before starting your day.
If getting a gym membership isn't feasible, there are always other ways to get exercise into your routine. If you're struggling to make a plan and stick to it, try speaking to your doctor, who can help you to integrate exercise into your life. At an integrated healthcare center like Bayless Healthcare, you'll find a team of doctors who can help you tackle any physical, mental, or social
health concerns you may have. It's the perfect place to go if you are interested in using physical activity as a way to improve your mental health.