Workouts can improve your physical health, but now there’s evidence it does the same for mental health. It increases circulation, which sends oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the entire body, including the brain. It also affects the gut microbiome that influences your mood. They increase or diminish neurotransmitters and improve your feeling of well-being and happiness. The gut, not the brain, produces most of the serotonin in your body, so improving the microbe balance can boost your mood.
Walking more helps depression and anxiety.
One study found that walking every day for a half hour improved mental health by lifting depression and calming anxiety. If you can do it in nature or walk barefoot on the grass, there are theories that it’s even better. A natural setting is relaxing and so is walking barefoot on the ground. It’s called grounding and often used by mental health specialists to calm people. Grounding, often called earthing, brings pain, depression, stress, and fatigue relief. Walking barefoot in the park, on the beach, or in other places where there’s natural ground, not asphalt or concrete, beneath your feet improves the benefits from the walk.
Strength training can improve your confidence and mood.
One study followed people who had strokes. One group used traditional recovery techniques and the second group added strength training. The group that did strength training showed improved self-confidence and self-image. They had less incidence of depression. Other studies show that improved strength also boosts self-image and can lift mild depression. As your muscles gain strength, your posture improves and that alone can improve your mood. Try it yourself. Slouch first and note how you feel, then straighten your body to proper posture, and you’ll feel the difference in your mood.
Burn off stress hormones with a HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout.
HIIT isn’t a type of exercise but a way of doing any exercise. You first do a few minutes—or even seconds—of the exercise at maximum intensity, then you do the same length of time or longer at a recovery rate. Alternate between the two throughout the workout. HIIT has been shown to be beneficial for physical fitness. It burns stress hormones faster and replaces them with ones that make you feel good.
- Any type of exercise will make you feel better. Most people want to pull the covers over their heads and stay in bed when they have the blues. Just getting up and getting moving can make you feel better.
- Turn up the music, make the song happy, and dance. It combines the benefits of HIIT exercises since you’ll be alternating your movements and pace. You’ll start to feel better in just a few minutes.
- If you don’t have the endurance or fitness for a fast-paced routine, try yoga or tai chi. Tai chi is a gentle exercise that almost anyone can do. You can modify it for people bed or chair bound.
- If you have mild depression, anxiety, or just a case of the blahs, exercise can help. If you have severe issues, always consult a mental health specialist. While exercise helps, it’s not the entire answer for severe mental issues.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness