How Can Exercise Improve Your Mental Health – Making a difference in your mental health can sometimes feel like a daunting task, especially when you are experiencing hard days, which can make looking after your mental health seem like an impossible chore. However, there are ways to improve your overall mental health that can be easily worked into your daily routine. For example, engaging in gentle and regular exercise daily or even several times a week can make a huge difference in your overall mood and mental wellbeing. While serious mental health conditions should always be addressed with the help of a professional, such as one of the experienced counsellors at Horizon Plymouth, we often find engaging in lifestyle modifications such as an exercise programme to beneficially complement progress made in therapy.

How does exercise improve mental health?

In addition to improving your physical health, exercise has a multitude of beneficial effects that all work together to boost your mental health as well. Some of these changes include better sleep, reduced anxiety, decreased pain, and even improved memory. Studies have also shown that your levels of concentration and overall energy levels increase with regular engagement in an exercise programme. But how are all of these effects accomplished? Is it all too good to be true? Luckily the answer is no—and science has shown us exactly why exercise is so beneficial to your mental health! When you engage in exercise, your body naturally releases some of the chemicals that make you feel good, such as serotonin and endorphins. These are natural mood boosters and regulators that can have a number of beneficial effects on your body that linger long after the exercise is completed.

Ways to incorporate exercise into my daily routine

Adding exercise to improve your mental health doesn’t have to mean incorporating a long, gruelling gym routine into your daily plan. The beneficial mental effects of exercise can be achieved through something as simple as taking a walk, practicing a gentle yoga or tai chi routine, or playing a sport that you enjoy with friends. The important thing is to start within your comfort zone to ensure that you are safe and free from injury. If you aren’t sure how best to incorporate such practices or don’t even know where to start, you might try one of the following, altering it to fit your own personal abilities and schedule as you wish:

  • Begin each morning with a few minutes of stretches or a simple yoga routine. Even five minutes of movement can be a great way to start your day off the right way.
  • Park a little farther away from your usual spot or take a longer route if you normally walk so that you are working more movement into your day.
  • Start a casual sports team with friends and enjoy the extra mental health boost that comes from socialisation!
  • Try a more physical hobby that interests you, such as gardening, woodworking, or dance classes.

Getting a friend to accompany you can add a layer of accountability to keep you moving when you lack the motivation, and rewarding yourself (even if it’s just a mental clap on the back) for progress gained can help reinforce your lifestyle changes. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can be as advanced or as gentle as you want it to be. The important part is that you’re doing it and taking the initiative to make beneficial changes to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

If you feel that you could benefit from some guidance regarding how best to improve your mental health through exercise or are struggling with your mental health and need the advice of a professional, don’t wait any longer to seek help! Contact the experienced counsellors at Horizon Plymouth and schedule your initial consultation today!

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