Exercising to get into shape is great. But for many, movement is more satisfying (and crucial) for the mind. Did you know that exercising helps fight depression and anxiety, and will help your mental health just as much as it does your physical health? We share some of the best types of exercises which have been proven to help ease stress, depression, anxiety and more.
There are four types of exercise: cardiovascular, strength training, balance, and flexibility. Within those categories, there are numerous options: yoga, pilates, basketball, weight training, gymnastics, running, dancing, swimming, and the list goes on.
According to a study published in Lancet Psychiatry, where researchers evaluated surveys that asked subjects to list what activity they participated in along with how many poor mental health days they experienced in the past month, team sports showed the best percentage in relation to the least amount of bad mental health days.
If team sports, such as basketball, football or volleyball are not for you, here are exercises you can do by yourself:
Yoga may help improve social relationships, reduce stress, and treat anxiety, depression and insomnia, as pointed out on an article by the American Psychological Association. If you want to get started, there are countless of yoga practices available on Youtube for free.
- Aerobic or gym exercise
Weightlifting, boxing, or rope jumping are fantastic exercises. You don’t necessarily need a gym membership to practice them either – there is affordable equipment you can find at sports stores or online so that you can practice at home.
It may take less time to improve your mood when you do more vigorous activities, such as running or biking, as stated by this article by the Mayo Clinic: Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. Running is the preferred choice of many, because it is a cheap and quick option that is known to quickly improve your mental state. Additionally, running is a great way to get you out of the house and in touch with nature.
A survey conducted by Cycleplan found that 75% of cyclists noticed an improvement int heir mental health since they started cycling regularly, with 8% stating it helped with their depression or anxiety.
The Mayo Clinic points out that it’s crucial to identify what kind of exercise is best suited for you – figure out what kind of activities you enjoy and are most likely to stick with.
While exercise may not be a cure for mental health issues, it certainly offers a range of benefits that can greatly improve the overall mental state of an individual. By releasing endorphins, reducing stress hormones, and improving self-esteem, exercise can provide a powerful boost to one’s mental health. So, if you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, don’t hesitate to lace up those running shoes or hit the gym – your mind and body will thank you for it.