Fighting Fit: How exercise helps your mental health - TheMacLife

Fighting Fit: How exercise helps your mental health

Be kind to both your mind and your body.

By John Balfe - 15 Oct 2020

Given that 2020 has been an historically bad year by practically any metric, it stands to reason that more than a few people are familiar with the burden of anxiety. 

As most will know, a consistent routine of exercise is one of the primary ways to help combat this. However, the current restrictions placed upon society have left some gyms unable to open and has left those who need to workout not just for their physical health, but also their mental health, seeking new methods to do so.

It is worth noting that exercise isn’t necessarily a cure for mental health issues but it can certainly help alleviate some of the symptoms, with research showing that just 30 minutes of exercise three to five times per week have made a significant impact.

It has been shown the psychological benefits from working out can be achieved if:

  • You exercise consistently for several weeks.
  • Are not already overly physically active.
  • Undertake aerobic exercises like swimming, running or dancing.

“Anxiety is usually linked to an increased heart rate,” says Sally R. Connolly, LCSW, a therapist at the Couples Clinic of Louisville in Kentucky. “Exercise can be very helpful with calming people’s heart rate.”

A further study has also shown that people who regularly work out have a 25% less chance of developing depression through a five year period, as well as improving mental clarity and concentration.

Furthermore, and while it is not an aerobic exercise, yoga can also have outstanding benefits through its combination of physical movement, concentrated breathing and meditation.

So, next time you are planning out your workout map for the week, take time to consider how it may benefit not just your muscle groups but also your mind — and understand that this is easier, and more important, than you might know.

 

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