Exercise has many positive impacts on our physical health which many people know about, but less people know about the positive impact it can also make on your mental health. Exercise has been found to positively impact depression, ADHD, anxiety and many more, that’s why it’s vital that your clients keep active regularly!
We’ve shared some further information below on how exercise can help specific mental health conditions:
Exercise releases chemicals in the brain called Endorphins which lifts your mood and spirit, it can also distract you from your negative thoughts by giving you something else to focus on. Exercise has been known to some as an antidepressant medication as it can treat mild to moderate depression.
Exercise helps to relax the body and muscles, creating a better relationship between your head and body. If your body is relaxed then your head tends to follow. This is the opposite situation when you’re stressed, your muscles tighten and your whole body becomes tense. Therefore by taking a break from the stressful situation and doing 5 – 15 minutes of exercise (depending on how long you can), you can break the cycle, relax and calm yourself.
Similar to depression, exercise is known to be a successful antianxiety treatment. Again by releasing endorphins to lift the mood, calming you and offering a distraction from your head. A big challenge is not zoning out while exercising so your head doesn’t go back into that dark place. One way to avoid that would be concentrating on your breathing, your pulse, the sound of your footsteps if you’re running or walking, etc.
PTSD and Trauma
PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and stress can also be helped through exercise. Physical activity helps distract you so you become “unstuck”. Concentrating on how your body feels or the texture from where you are (such as wind or walking through sand) can stop your mind wandering.
Exercise helps reduce symptoms of ADHD by helping you concentrate, keeping you motivated and improving your memory and mood. By boosting the brain’s dopamine and serotonin levels it helps you focus and concentrate, just like ADHD medication does.
Another benefit of exercise is better sleep. Burts of the energy that you fuel doing exercise during the day helps regulate your sleeping patterns on the night and make for a better night’s sleep. It also helps by improving your energy levels. Exercising can increase your heart rate weekly helping you get up and go.
How much Exercise?
You don’t need to push yourself too far to be able to improve. You don’t need to become a bodybuilder or a marathon runner, just moderate exercise a few times a week is enough for good mental results. Studies have shown that for some people moderate exercise is the best for them to achieve their wanted results. Moderate exercise means breathing faster and heavier but not out of breath and a small increase in temperature but not to the point where you are overheated or very sweaty. Just do what you can and enjoy yourself.