Last Updated on 3 months by Isreal Olabanji DST RN
In popular culture, exercising has mostly been associated with its wonderful benefits for physical health. From losing weight to developing a set of washboard abs, exercising is the first answer for improving physique. The perpetual obsession with celebrity culture has been a driving force behind a lot of people’s motivation to work out.
But what about mental health? Sure it’s something that might not be as noticeable as your physical appearance, but it’s equally important! In 2001, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that about 450 million people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder. Now, nearly 18 years later with 1.24 billion more people, this number is higher than ever. When one in four people suffer from mental illness, it can’t be taken lightly.
The stigma that surrounds mental health is simply tragic. This stigma is particularly worse for men, just because showcasing emotions is somehow threatening to their masculinity. How ridiculous! Fortunately, these rising numbers have started conversations. Lady Gaga, Wayne Brady, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Howie Mendel are some of the several celebrities who have shared their struggle with mental illness. There is growing compassion for mental health, but we still have a long way to go.
If you’ve never suffered any form of mental struggle, you might be thinking why fix something that isn’t broken? This thing is, why wait for it to break? When it comes to managing mental health, there’s a heavy correlation between your mental wellbeing and exercising. While vanity is a sweet by-product of working out, it also does wonders for your mental health.
Here we’ve summarized different types of workouts that you can incorporate into your lifestyle for a healthier mind.
You’ve probably heard this before, running is a great way to clear your head and process your thoughts. It has a rhythm to it that slows your mind and offers order to your thoughts.
If you’re interested in running, there is a dedicated and welcoming community waiting for you. You can join a running group and get started.
On the other hand, if you feel you’re not physically prepared to go full pro, you should start slow. A popular application, Couch to 5k, is specially designed to help complete beginners become regular runners.
Yoga is well-known for its physical and mental benefits. In yoga, the mind and the body are treated as one. It places equal importance on flexibility and mindfulness. As an observer, it might seem like a slow activity but it’s actually quite zestful.
If you have no experience with yoga, we would suggest you sign up for a beginner’s class. Wrongly attempting yoga poses might cause more harm than good.
Lifting weights, running on a treadmill or using other gym equipment can seem mindless at times. If you’re easily bored and need something that engages your mind along with your body, give combat workouts a try.
Boxing is one such workout that will bind your brain to the present moment. It allows you to entirely focus on tackling your opponent. Anticipating their next move and subsequently coming up with your counter move could very well be considered a form of meditation. And who has ever complained about a chance to relentlessly punch a punching bag? This is a great way to release stress and give your mind something else to think about.
High-intensity interval training or HIIT has taken the world by storm. It’s a form of interval training that involves intense training with less intense recovery periods in between. The likes of David Beckham and Britney Spears are some of the several celebrities who partake in HIIT workouts.
If yoga is a Coldplay song, HIIT is a Dillion Francis mix. It will get your heart rate up, your mind awake and your body sweating. And isn’t that the triple threat we all desire?
When we think of dancing, it sparks instant joy. If a rigorous workout isn’t the spiel for you, join a dance class! You don’t have to be good at it, leave that to professionals. Let your hair down and bust a few moves. Following the beat of a song will sync your brain and body. It’s an excellent stress buster.
Pilates is yoga’s older, more mature sister. While the core strength and flexibility is often sold as the prime benefits of Pilates, it also boosts mental wellbeing. Pilates involves highly controlled moments that you can’t commit to without being fully present. It promotes mindfulness and relaxation.
Water is an elixir for your brain. It evokes a feeling of relaxation. That’s why swimming lowers depression, reduces stress levels and helps with anxiety.
Taking care of your health isn’t an indulgence, it’s a necessity. With this post, we hope you are able to grasp how important exercise is for your physical and mental health.
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