Exercise for Mental Health

So many people tell you to increase your exercise routine when you are suffering mentally and for some, getting off the couch to use the bathroom is hard enough so being asked to do some kind of exercise is just too much.

I remember thinking “But I feel so exhausted, I can’t possibly do anything more than get out of bed” and I know that I wasn’t alone with this feeling. But guess what, exercising really is a good way to feel better mentally.

I am not saying to go for a run when you are at your lowest but as soon as you feel able to, go for a walk. Not only will moving your body and getting fresh air do you good, looking at the bigger picture is a great help. Too often we spend as much time as possible in our houses, bedrooms, offices, hiding from the world as we feel safe there but those 4 walls won’t help you to feel better in the long run. Even looking out of the window is a step in the right direction.

Doing cardio exercise will get your heart beating and your blood pumping and this really doe help to make you feel better. You may ache and be exhausted afterwards but you have taken that first step. It is also hard to focus on anything other than keeping going. If you haven’t been for a run for years, just keeping going for a few minutes takes a lot of mental power, therefore distracting you from what is making you feel anxious or depressed.

Whether you go outdoors or to a gym, getting your heart beating is a great way to feel alive, to get oxygen pumping around your body and it will help you to have a better night sleep.

Another type of exercise which is great for mental health is yoga. Yoga is not only about poses which take time to master but there is a large element of breathing exercises involved. Most yoga teachers will also give you a relaxation/meditation session at the end of the yoga practice, this will really help to ground you. Challenging yourself to stand in harder poses and to stretch those muscles will become a focus for you and give you relief from the stresses in your life.

And this wouldn’t right if I didn’t mention exercising with your dogs. Take them for walks, throw the ball, watch how they enjoy stretching their limbs and running around without a care in the world. My partner and I often say “be more like Coco”.

Published by Victoria Warwick-Jones

Mother, dog mother, beauty junkie, counsellor, aspiring gardener.

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