When it comes to managing stress, beating depression, or handling other mental health issues, many people will point towards physical activity to help. However, it’s easier to say you will work out more often than to actually do it. Like any good habit, establishing consistency to see results takes time. You will not suddenly reap the rewards of exercise if you do not continuously make an effort to achieve these rewards.
So how can your physical well-being and your mental balance work together effectively? If you want to improve your life, here are seven ways that prove mental and physical health complement each other.
Fitness Improves Your Sleep
If you struggle to sleep because of your experiences with depression and anxiety, among other issues, improving your fitness can make a significant difference. Exercising will improve your sleep, while sleeping improves your athletic performance, making it a mutually beneficial approach. Running 5K, playing sports, or lifting weights can help tire your body out which makes it easier to enjoy a restful and uninterrupted sleep. You will wake up the next day feeling more refreshed as your body clock is balanced, and you will improve your focus.
Exercise Can Improve Self-Esteem
Exercise can also help improve your self-esteem, especially if you struggle with body image issues. While you won’t enjoy a carved, god-like physique immediately, a proper dedication to exercise and fitness will show gradual changes. You will lose weight and improve your conditioning, allowing you to push yourself further. This progress can make a significant difference to your self-confidence and empower you to keep going as you witness incredible results.
Exercise Can Be A Coping Mechanism
Your fitness journey can also work as a coping mechanism and it’s something you may learn when seeking inpatient treatment for depression or anxiety. Although exercise will not cure your mental health issues alone, it can help you find ways to cope when you feel overwhelmed. Exercise can be a fantastic distraction from your mental health struggles and it offers a positive solution compared to more damaging coping mechanisms, such as turning to drugs or alcohol. Replacing these bad habits with good ones is a great first step towards better mental health.
Working Out Releases the Happy Chemical
You should already know enough about serotonin to teach anyone why it is so important for humans and happiness. Constant scrolling online only offers a quick fix that is almost immediately depleted. This fleeting happiness only creases a tricky cycle. Exercise provides more authentic serotonin and dopamine, and you’ll find that it lasts longer. The runner’s high is more than a marketing ploy to get people out of the house (although it wouldn’t matter even if it was), so embrace how good you feel after working out, even if your muscles are sore.
You Can Get Out of the House
If you spend all your days stuck inside, it’s no wonder you feel glum and gloomy. Exercise will give you an excuse to leave the house even if you don’t want to run anywhere. Simply taking a walk can be enough to make positive changes to your mental and physical condition, so make a habit of going outside for some fresh air. Of course, this is easier said than done for others. If you live in the city, find a green space where you can switch off your devices and appreciate your surroundings.
You Can Find A Social Activity
Mental health does not need to be a battle you take on alone. Exercise and activities can introduce you to other people, and this social aspect can make a huge difference in your mental health. Researching the benefits of team sports will give you plenty of options and help you find something that interests you. Whether you want to join a league team or just play with other people who are casually interested, you will discover camaraderie and togetherness.
There Is Something For Everyone
There is also something for everyone. If you don’t feel ready to seek out team sports yet, you can find solo activities like running, cycling, or swimming that still provide great health benefits. These activities are just the tip of the iceberg, though, and there are many more sports or games you can find to boost your mental and physical well-being.
Like many things in life, your mental and physical health are more connected than you might think. If you want to find the perfect balance and get the most from your lifestyle, understanding the importance of allowing one to benefit the other (and vice versa) can help you make positive changes that will reap plenty of rewards.