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What Are the Best Exercises for Mental Health?

Sometimes, it seems like the importance of exercise is not appreciated or understood by patients and mental health professionals alike. Despite being a very important factor in alleviating negative mental health effects, evidence has suggested that exercise may actually be a neglected lifestyle change in mental health care.

At First Class Personal Training, we believe your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Our personal trainers have studied and perfected exercises that help reduce levels of anxiety and depression and improve your mental health. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to get up and get active, let us help you!

From reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety to keeping your mind and memory sharp, there are plenty of mental health benefits that come from exercise. Maybe you need motivation to get up and out of the house or just a push to workout today. At First Class Personal Training, we can help.

There are plenty of mental health benefits that come from exercise. We focus on these five benefits of regular physical activity.

Five Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

  • Assistance with Depression and Anxiety
  • Reduced Levels of Stress
  • Improved Self-Image
  • Improved Sleep
  • Mind and Mood Boost

Assistance with Depression and Anxiety

Many studies have shown that low-impact/intensity aerobic activities are the best form of exercise for encouraging a positive outlook. When beginning an aerobic exercise routine, it helps to begin at a slower pace, especially if you’re just starting out. A calmer low impact exercise may be a good starting point. It can help to start with something slower if you suffer with a physical health problem, or are nervous about commiting to larger goals. The benefits are significant especially in people with an elevated level of anxiety and depression.

While it may be simple, even a ten-minute walk can have huge mental health benefits. If you’re looking for something more engaging than the treadmill, a quick hike on a nice nature trail is a great start out exercise! Another great starting point is a short swimming session. Even a few minutes a day of refreshing water exercise can be beneficial for the mind. The same studies state that these activities release endorphins and other “feel good” brain chemicals that contribute to feelings of happiness.

Reduced Levels of Stress

If you love calming movements, Yoga might just be for you. It’s very soothing, and when taking long, guided deep breaths in a yoga class, you can “trick” your nervous system into feeling that you are safe and calm. By utilizing deep calming breathing, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) enters its “rest and digest mode.”

Research done by Creighton University explains the PNS’ importance, including how it helps to stimulate digestion, activate metabolism, and help the body relax.

Improved Self-Image

Improved Self-Image

There are a lot of physical benefits of regular exercise, from improved stamina and endurance to healthy weight maintenance and increased muscle tone. So many personal physical milestones can be achieved with physical exercise and these achievements can help add up to additional self-confidence! An active body is great for keeping yourself healthy, and naturally, self-confidence will follow! The old adage, “Look good, feel good,” is what we’re here for.

Regular gym trips are good, but don’t worry if you can’t find a lot of time to exercise each day. Any amount of activity is better than none, and staying consistent with your plans is what’s really important! Take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a bike ride instead of driving when possible. While your initial goal may be to improve your mental health, not necessarily to get a more fit physique, it is an amazing benefit of the hard work you’re putting in. Often, it happens before you even realize!

Improved Sleep

Research done by the University of São Paulo concluded that, “acute moderate-intensity aerobic exercise appears to reduce pre-sleep anxiety,” (reducing the anxious thoughts that make it hard to fall asleep) “and improve sleep in patients with chronic primary insomnia.” Just a single half-hour exercise session can reduce the time and trouble it takes for you to fall asleep and help you sleep longer and deeper overall. These effects are even stronger when you consistently undertake a regular exercise routine.

Mind and Mood Boost

From building intelligence to strengthening memory, exercise boosts brain power in a number of ways. According to Walden University, “Studies on mice and humans indicate that cardiovascular exercise creates new brain cells — a process called neurogenesis — and improve overall brain performance […].” Studies also prove that physical activity boosts creativity and mental energy. So if you’re in need of inspiration, your big idea could be just a walk or jog away.

Exercise can also be beneficial in preventing cognitive decline and memory loss. By assisting in strengthening the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is responsible for managing memory and learning, you’ll be thinking quicker and feeling more focused.

By adding class-based exercise, you can also add a social aspect to your routine. A spin class, dance class or even yoga class are great settings for feeling like a part of a healthy team working towards the same goals! It can be a great mood booster to workout alongside others, and may motivate you even further!

Regardless of whatever your exercise goals are, know that at First Class Personal Training, we are determined to help you reach them. Millions of people deal with the adverse effects of negative mental health, and too small of a number take steps to improve their lifestyle. Exercise is a great first step on your journey of self-improvement. Allow us to help you! First Class Personal Training workout plans are tailored to fit your exact physical and mental health needs, so don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation today!

August 15, 2021