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How is your mental health?

HOW IS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? – HERE IS HOW EXERCISE CAN HELP

Odds are that within your friendship group or family unit, you will know at least one person who has suffered from a mental health ailment such as depression or anxiety. Whether it be an acute case brought on by a particular incident or something more long-term, these conditions can be extremely debilitating and can have a massive impact on the health of those affected.

People often shut themselves off from their support networks during their suffering for a plethora of reasons. Everybody’s situation and the reason behind their decision-making is different. As concerned parties we all want to be able to understand the mindset of somebody dealing with these troublesome thoughts, however, it, unfortunately, can be very hard to have open and honest conversations around these topics. Often just providing a supportive presence can be more beneficial than you can imagine.

Something else that can be extremely beneficial to somebody with a mental health concern is exercise. While most individuals can rattle off a list of physical improvements associated with increased physical activity, the psychological enhancements can potentially play an even bigger role in improving one’s quality of life, particularly in the mental health space.

THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

Exercise is known to stimulate the release of chemicals within the body such as endorphins and serotonin, which can provide an initial emotional boost but that’s not all. Physical activity can also enhance blood flow, particularly to the brain, which can improve the clarity of thought along with reducing our stress levels, which can be a big detriment to our health. Furthermore, exercise can improve our sleeping patterns and enhance our feelings of self-worth as well as providing an avenue of social interaction which can be vital when battling feelings of loneliness and isolation.

So how much exercise do we need to achieve these results you ask? Ideally, the recommended amount of exercise we should be aiming for is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. This can be undertaken in bouts as little as 10 minutes in duration and should combine both cardiovascular (i.e brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, etc) and resistance components (e.g weights, callisthenics, etc). Ultimately though, something is better than nothing, so if you can only do 5 minutes a few times a day to start then there is nothing wrong with that. Everybody has their starting point and we all know Rome wasn’t built in a day. So progress yourself at a pace that’s suitable for you and you will be meeting those guidelines faster than you think.

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