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The mental health benefits of exercise

In recent years, there has been a real public awareness around the importance of mental health and a drive to understand it better. Lots of research and studies have taken place to show the benefits that exercise can have on our wellbeing – both mentally and physically.

 

A healthy mind

A dose of exercise really does contribute to a healthy mind, and has been shown to help people suffering from mild depression and anxiety. Exercising stimulates positive endorphins, clears your head and lifts your mood. Scientists believe that exercise and the resultant release of endorphins and serotonin, the happy hormone, can help boost your self-esteem, make you feel more equipped to deal with stressful situations and face the challenges of daily life.

In fact, research has uncovered that doing just three workouts a week you can help lessen the risk of depression by up to 30%. Of course, we are not saying that you have to go out and run a marathon every week but even going for a walk or light jog can help to improve your mental health.

 

Which workout do I choose?

If the thought of rolling out of bed to complete a high intensity workout feels impossible right now, it’s okay to start slow. All it takes is a few minutes of low-intensity exercise – even just walking – to trigger the release of pain-relieving endorphins.

 

  • Building Friendships: Team sports like football or rugby can help combat loneliness by making friends and feeling connected to others.

 

  • Fighting Stress: A high intensity workout (HIIT) can help relive the signs of stress while more gentle exercises like yoga and Pilates are good of anxiety.

 

  • To calm the mind: My people speak of the therapeutic benefits of running, as it allows them the headspace to deal with their thoughts and process their anxieties in an uninterrupted way. If running isn’t your ideal, you could also try yoga or pilates for similar calming benefits.

 

So next time you exercise after not feeling your best self, take a moment to notice how your mood has lifted. The warm, satisfied feeling you get after your workout will keep you coming back for more. After not long you will get addicted to the mental benefits of exercise, not just the physical results.

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