There is an important link and relationship between fitness and mental health, with the benefits of exercising and fitness training not only limited to our physical health and abilities. Different types of exercise can be used as a form of therapy or counselling for our emotional wellbeing and mental health, as well as our personal fitness and health goals benefiting from being based on our mental health.
CCH Live Founder, wellness and fitness expert and author, Jacqueline Harvey has put together the 8 most important facts you should know about fitness and mental health, and the relationship between them.
1. Fitness training makes us feel better, with even the smallest amounts making a difference to our mental health. Fitness training, of any kind, can relive anxiety, depression, and stress, and improve our general mood and sleep pattern as well. As it increases the blood flow, it can also help with our memory.
2. As a form of natural healthcare, working out or completing a workout session can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressants, but without any side effects. The form of exercise should be appropriate for your blood type, personality, and body type to work most effectively. You can find out more about this through our Fitness for Life Programme.
3. Research conducted by Harvard University found that simply running or walking 15 minutes a day, reduces depression by 26%. But why is this?
a) Exercise improves the brain nerves and encourages growth
b) It reduces inflammation – some depression is cause by brain inflammation
c) It releases the endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, which are the feel-good hormones
d) Exercise creates and provides a distraction, giving us a quiet time to break the negative thought cycle that feed depression
4. Exercise is a great form of stress relief, especially walking in sand or forest bathing. Running, swimming, weight training, dancing, and outdoor activities such as sailing, are also the best choices to relieve stress and anxiety. These types of fitness relax the muscles and releases the nervous system so that it can move forward. It also helps to reduce headaches, as well as helping with breathing problems.
5. Fitness promotes a shaper memory and thinking. As the endorphins are released, it helps us to concentrate and feel mentally quick, stimulates the growth of the new brain cells, and helps prevent age-related decline.
6. Movement increases a sense of higher self-esteem and self-worth, as completing an exercise routine leaves us feeling strong and powerful, able to cope better with everyday problems. We tend to feel better about our appearance after exercise, and by meeting even small goals, one gets a sense of an achievement.
7. Exercise helps to achieve better quality sleep – even short exercise in the morning or after cardio sessions will help regulate sleep patterns. Yoga or gentle stretching are the best forms of exercise for this.
8. Fitness makes you feel more energised and greatly improves your mood. It increases a stronger resistance and reduces the reliance on drugs and alcohol to elevate or calm your mood, when faced with problems and emotional challenges in life.
If you have any further enquiries about this or wish to improve your health in general, book a FREE 15minute telephone consultation now!
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