Today is World Mental Health Day which means it’s the perfect time to learn about the importance of self-care through exercise for our mental wellbeing. We know life can be stressful and difficult at times so it’s so important to know how to make sure we are keeping our mental health in check throughout it all!
As we know, exercise has long been known as a mood enhancer. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, often referred to as "feel-good" hormones. These endorphins can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety while promoting an overall sense of happiness. As Queen Elle Woods once said “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t kill their husbands”.
Here are some reasons exercise can positively impact your mental health;
- Exercise is a form of Meditation
Mindfulness or meditation encourages you to stay present in the moment, allowing you to let go of worries about the past and future. When we practice techniques like deep breathing and meditation, we can relieve stress and it can help you manage life's challenges with greater ease. You can try yoga or Pilates or even walking as a form of meditation and mindfulness. As long as you are present in the moment, you are practicing mindfulness.
- Exercise Enhances Cognitive Function
Regular exercise doesn't just benefit your physical health; it also has a profound impact on our mind and brain health. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which can improve memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. Mindfulness practices complement this by enhancing your ability to focus and stay mentally sharp.
- Exercise Improves Sleep Quality
Sleep is crucial for mental health, and both exercise and mindfulness can contribute to better sleep patterns. Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restful sleep.
- Building Resilience
Life is full of challenges, and mental resilience is essential for navigating them successfully. Exercise and mindfulness work hand in hand to build this resilience. Physical activity can increase your tolerance for stress, while mindfulness equips you with the tools to manage stress when it arises.
- Self-Acceptance and Self-Compassion
Mindfulness encourages self-acceptance and self-compassion by teaching you to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This practice can help you develop a healthier relationship with yourself, reducing self-criticism and negative self-talk.
When combined with exercise, mindfulness can be a powerful catalyst for self-improvement. Instead of exercising to meet unrealistic standards, you can focus on enjoying physical activity and appreciating your body for its capabilities. We can practice this through low impact exercise such as yoga, pilates or walking.
So queens, let’s take this opportunity to reflect & prioritise our mental health & well-being. Let’s put as much effort into taking care of our mind as we do our bodies.