Who doesn’t want to live their best life? To be able to present themselves authentically to the world as happy, secure, and confident. Unfortunately, many of us believe that becoming the best version of ourselves relies primarily on our physical appearance, and the value others place on it. However, we know that how we look on the outside does not necessarily reflect how we feel on the inside. And as the saying goes, “It’s what on the inside that counts.” 😉
We must find our own value. And, what do we do with things we value? We take care of it!
There’s no question that working to maintain a healthy body condition is important to physical health, but to realize our potential for happiness and emotional well-being, we must also focus effort on our mental health. Lucky for us, there is one self-care practice that you can plant into your daily routine that helps both your physical and mental health – EXERCISE! And so, our series, “Cultivating Mental Health” continues with an examination into the benefits of exercise to our mental health.
Research has shown that regular exercise can have a significant impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD, and also aide in treating PTSD. It can also help to relieve stress, improve cognition and memory, regulate sleep patterns, and boost your overall mood. Multiple studies have even discovered that exercise can be as effective as psychotherapy and antidepressant medication in treating mild to moderate depression – with immediate results and without any of the pesky side effects common with medication. What’s more, one study, performed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that running for 15 minutes or walking for an hour every day can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%.
Benefits of exercise to mental health include:
Finding the time and inclination to exercise can be difficult for some, so you may be happy to know that it is not necessary to become a fitness junkie to reap the mental health benefits of exercise. The key is to simply plant some regular exercise habits into your daily life. This can be as simple as walking the dog, going for a bike ride with friends, a cool summer swim, or any other activity that you enjoy - just get your body moving with purpose for 30+ minutes a day, 5+ days a week.
Here are some tips to get you started:
So, go on - get moving, have some fun, and improve your mental and physical health!