How to Combine Exercise and Mental Health
When you look up ways to improve your mental health, exercise tends to be at the top of the list. Why is that? The benefits of exercise on mental health have been extensively researched and documented, making fitness one of the best ways to naturally manage mental illness.
When you think about how exercise can benefit your mental health, it’s a good idea to first examine what ways you would like it to improve your well-being. Just like you set goals for your physical fitness, it can help to have benchmarks for your mental health and exercise as well.
How Exercise Improves Your Mental Health
While some therapists incorporate exercise into treatment for their clients, it is still largely overlooked or forgotten by people. Because our mental health all happens internally, it’s understandable that you focus more on how you feel inside than what you’re doing physically.
However, the benefits of exercise in therapy can include:
- • More stable moods.
- • Less anxiety.
- • Better sleep.
- • Reduced depression symptoms.
- • A healthy emotional outlet for stress, anger and anxiety.
- • Build exposure to triggering physical sensations like a racing heart.
Ways to Incorporate Exercise into Your Mental Health Self-Care
The first thing to do is identify your goals and fitness level. If you are a beginner, then you likely won’t want to sign up for a HIIT class right away. Instead, low-impact exercises like yoga and light cardio could be a good way to ease into fitness.
It’s also beneficial to ask yourself what your body feels during exercise. For example, you may find swimming to be freeing and enjoyable while jogging makes you feel overworked and exhausted. Follow your body’s messages, and focus on doing what feels good rather than what “looks like” exercise.
You should also collaborate with a therapist to discuss ways physical activity could benefit your mental health. Working out for 30 minutes a day could also become part of your depression or anxiety treatment; you may keep a mood journal that charts how you feel before and after exercise, as well as the impact your fitness has on the severity of your symptoms.
Learn How to Combine Exercise and Mental Health With the Professionals
Caring Heart Counseling believes that good mental health is a full body experience. No matter what your fitness level or personal background may be, you can discover how to build a lifestyle that promotes good feelings as much as it reduces bad ones.
Contact us today to learn more about our therapy in Black Hawk, CO, and surrounding areas. You can also message us with any questions or book a virtual session with one of our counselors.