Boost Your Mental Health with These 4 Workouts

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Ever feel like your emotions are running the show? Get control over your life and regulate your mood by adding regular exercise to your routine. When you partake in physical activity you’ll experience benefits for your mind and body.

Here are our top four recommended exercises to help you regulate emotions, feel better in your body and have fun in the process.

1. Weight training

Weight training is any exercise that involves repetitive movements using some form of resistance. These workouts build and tone muscles, and with strength training, it’s easy to target a certain area of the body.

According to Mayo Clinic, weight training workouts twice a week for 20 to 30 minutes are all that’s needed to see results. Starting out with intense workouts or too much weight could cause injury, however, so it’s important to learn proper form and start slow.

How it supports mental wellness: the slow, repetitive movements of weight training are a perfect antidote to the average workday. If you spend all day sitting at a desk, doing focused work, the mindless motion of strength training can give your brain a break and put your body to work.

2. Stretching 

According to the Harvard Medical School, stretching is crucial to overall fitness. Stretching improves mobility, keeps muscles strong and prevents injury. Try stretching after a light warm-up, since stretching when your body is cold could actually damage muscle fibers.

The most important thing to remember when you add stretching to your exercise regimen is that you won’t be able to do the splits on day one. Stretching, like building muscles, takes time and commitment.

How it supports mental wellness, stretching offers a chance to decompress from the daily hustle and bustle. Try yoga, soothing music or adding in meditations for deeper relaxation.

3. Cardio

Many exercises fall under the category of cardio – running, biking, swimming, dancing and hiking. Cardio (short for cardiovascular) is a form of exercise that increases the heart rate for a sustained period of time. These workouts build muscles, improve heart health and boost metabolism.

How it supports mental wellness: cardio exercises are great for burning calories and building up stamina, but they can also help you to regulate emotions. Because cardio requires high-energy movements, it’s a great way to release pent-up stress. These exercises are also great for clearing your mind and getting some alone time.

Bonus points for working out outside. Cardio exercises offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors year-round. If you live in a warmer climate, swim some laps or walk the dogs on the beach. For cold-weather regions, consider skiing or snowshoeing.

Being outside is a natural antidepressant. According to a study published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, spending time in natural sunlight increases Vitamin D intake, which in turn decreases depressive symptoms.

4. Team sports

Participating in a local league is not only healthy, it’s fun. Team sports have all the perks of cardio exercise with the added bonus of a new (or familiar) social group. Sometimes being around others is a better de-stressor than working out alone, and building friendships can add meaning to our lives.

How it supports mental wellness: it may seem obvious that spending time with others can give your health a boost, but there’s research to prove it. According to a study published in Social Welfare Quarterly, good social support is directly linked with better mental health outcomes. If you’re not sure how to incorporate socializing into your workouts, try a website like MeetUp to get connected with an adult sports league in your area.

Other benefits to exercise

Sleep: according to a review of meta-analyses published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, sleep disorders impact an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans. The same article notes that exercise, even moderate exercise, improves overall sleep outcomes for adults.

Weight management: it doesn’t take an expert to know that burning calories during exercise can help to shed those pounds. Combined with a healthy diet, regularly working out can help you get in shape and stay in shape.

Feel stronger: whether you’re hitting the gym, pounding the pavement or working out in the comfort of your own home, you’re bound to feel stronger, both mentally and physically. You’ll build up endurance and muscle mass while you foster traits like determination and discipline.

Preventative healthcare: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that exercise can help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer, depression, anxiety and dementia.

Boost confidence: there’s nothing like a good sweat sesh to increase your self-esteem. First, physical activity will help you to look your best. Moreover, exercise releases endorphins, which boost your mood.

Getting started 

There are few things that could have as drastic an impact on your life in only 30 minutes a day as exercise. Whether you’re running sprints, taking a dance class or doing yoga in the park, physical activity can have an amazing effect on your health and happiness.

Exercise alone might not be enough to gain control over your emotions. Mental health treatment can help you to regulate your mood and find fulfillment in your daily life. High Focus Centers offers in-person and remote therapy options to help you live the life you want. Call 800-877-3628 today to schedule an appointment.