Exercise is a relatively easy way to improve your mental and physical well-being, and anyone and everyone can do it.
By getting active and moving our bodies we:
-reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
-increase our energy levels.
-reduce the risk of injury and improve our balance, flexibility, and coordination.
-increase feelings of self-confidence wellbeing and reduce stress by releasing endorphins known as “feel good” chemicals.
Endorphins also provide a strong pain barrier that can protect against some types of chronic pain. Apart from endorphins, exercise also stimulates the release of serotonin (an anti-depressant) and dopamine (which regulates mood).
-help us to fall asleep easier.
-improve our appearance.
-reduce muscle tension.
and the list goes on!
Being active is a straightforward way to improve the quality of your life. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you choose, if it’s something that gets you moving and makes you feel good!
Exercise can be an effective self-care tool for people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or stress.
Whether taking a walk in the park, doing yoga, or pumping iron at the gym- exercise is one self-care tool that NEVER fails.
Although it sounds so simple, exercising can sometimes be harder to do.
Especially if you are struggling with mental health problems, forming the habit of daily exercise can be very challenging because it’s easy to let other tasks or obligations take priority over your well-being.
However, making sure that you are prioritizing yourself and including daily physical activity in your routine is an essential part of self-care.
Mental health problems can also make it difficult to exercise because certain activities may be triggering or exacerbate symptoms.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop exercising, though! When starting, choose something simple like taking a walk or doing yoga at home until you feel more comfortable and confident with your chosen exercise routine.
It’s also essential to find something that works for your schedule and is practical for your lifestyle because some people may not be able to commit to a regular schedule of structured exercise classes or trips to the gym. It’s equally effective if you want to get active outdoors!
The possibilities are endless- you could bike, swim, dance, run or take a casual stroll in the park.
Maybe you can try something entirely new, find an activity you’ve always wanted to try, and get off the couch!
Or perhaps you have a friend who is already active, and you can join them for a couple of sessions.
When it comes down to it, the best type of exercise is the one that you will do!
Personalizing Your Physical Activity Plan
Choosing your self-care tool:
Although exercising is a very effective self-care tool, it may not work for everyone or every mental health problem. You can always try different exercises until you find something that works for you and your mental health problem.
On top of exercise, there are many other ways to care for yourself and increase your feelings of well-being. Experiment with different activities such as yoga, swimming, dancing, or martial arts to see what makes you feel good!
Choosing how often you exercise:
You must select a level of physical activity that works for you and your current abilities!
Everyone is different, so it’s essential to be honest with yourself- if you push yourself too hard, it may not be beneficial or enjoyable. You may want to start by exercising three times a week at first and then gradually increase the frequency of your exercise routine as your body gets used to moving!
Your activity level will grow slowly over time, and it may take a while to feel comfortable, so give your body the chance to adjust.
Sticking with your routine:
It’s normal for any activity or exercise routine to be challenging at first because forming a new habit can be challenging!
However, not following through with your plan will only make you feel worse about yourself and make it even harder to start exercising later.
You must give yourself credit for trying and reminding yourself that there’s nothing wrong with taking a break if things get too hard or you don’t feel like doing it anymore! If you try your best and continue taking care of yourself, that matters.
In conclusion, exercise is a very effective tool for self-care and can play a significant role in improving your mental health.
You must find the right level of physical activity for you and choose exercises that fit into your lifestyle. Start slowly and remember to give yourself credit for trying!