Exercise is often thought of as a way to improve physical health, but it can also have a number of benefits for mental health. Exercise can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and boost self-esteem.
Physical activity is essential for overall health and well-being. It can help to improve physical fitness, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and boost mood.
In addition to these physical benefits, physical activity has also been shown to have a number of mental health benefits. Exercise can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve cognitive function and sleep quality.
Types of physical activity:
There are many different types of physical activity that can be beneficial for mental health. Some examples include:
- Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise is any activity that gets your heart rate up and your blood flowing. Examples include running, swimming, biking, and dancing.
- Strength training: Strength training helps to build muscle and bone mass. Examples include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing bodyweight exercises.
- Yoga and tai chi: Yoga and tai chi are mind-body exercises that can help to improve flexibility, balance, and relaxation.
Benefits of physical activity for mental health:
Research has shown that physical activity can help to improve mental health in a number of ways. Some of the benefits include:
- Reduced stress: Exercise can help to release endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. It can also help to distract from stressors and promote relaxation.
- Reduced anxiety: Exercise can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as worry, nervousness, and restlessness.
- Reduced depression: Exercise can help to improve mood, energy levels, and sleep quality. It can also help to reduce the risk of developing depression.
- Improved cognitive function: Exercise can help to improve memory, attention, and decision-making skills.
- Improved sleep quality: Exercise can help to promote deeper and more restful sleep.
How much physical activity is needed?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. They also recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.
Tips for getting started:
If you are new to physical activity, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend exercising. Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Find an activity that you enjoy. This will make it more likely that you will stick with it.
- **Start with short, easy workouts and gradually increase the duration and intensity as you get fitter.
- Find a workout buddy. Having someone to work out with can help you stay motivated.
- Listen to your body. If you are feeling pain, stop and rest.
Types of Exercise:
There are many different types of exercise that can be beneficial for mental health. Some examples include:
- Aerobic exercise: This type of exercise increases heart rate and breathing. Examples include running, swimming, and cycling.
- Strength training: This type of exercise builds muscle. Examples include lifting weights and doing push-ups.
- Yoga: This type of exercise combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation.
- Tai chi: This type of exercise is a slow-moving martial art that combines gentle movements, breathing exercises, and meditation.
Benefits of Exercise for Mental Health:
Exercise has been shown to have a number of benefits for mental health, including:
- Reduced stress: Exercise can help to reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which are hormones that have mood-boosting effects.
- Improved mood: Exercise can help to improve mood by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with happiness.
- Boosted self-esteem: Exercise can help to boost self-esteem by improving physical appearance and overall health.
Exercise is a safe and effective way to improve mental health. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
Physical activity is a great way to improve your overall health and well-being. It can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve cognitive function and sleep quality.
If you are looking for a way to improve your mental health, physical activity is a great place to start.
When starting an exercise program, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise over time. It is also important to talk to a doctor before starting an exercise program if you have any health concerns.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022). Physical activity for everyone.