Image by: Pink Persimon
By Jack Day
Exercise does the body good, but did you know it can also work wonders for your mental health?
It’s true! A good long run, a few laps in the pool, or even a class or two at the gym can change your outlook on life and make you a more productive human being in the office.
Gentlemen, as if there weren’t enough reasons to get in shape, clearing your mind and optimizing your performance in life should be the promise and the push you need.
Here are some things to know about the workouts you’re putting in, and how to get more bang for your buck.
#1) It’s a Fact Man! Working Out Helps Your Brain
For most, workouts are about getting the body into shape, losing weight and increasing physical performance. Sure, losing body fat helps no matter what, but being active helps your body find it’s balance.
The Mayo Clinic studied this phenomenon and determined that being active and doing some of your favorite exercises can decrease anxiety and limit symptoms associated with depression.
It doesn’t have to be intense exercise. Simply finding time for a brisk walk, taking the stairs regularly and making time to get off the couch is proven to improve your mood.
It’s all about the brain. The chemicals swirling around up there control the way the entire body feels. From boosting those feel good hormones like neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids to reducing the chemicals given off by the immune system, getting active helps level everything out.
#2) How Much is Enough?
Doctors usually tell their patients that 30 minutes of intense exercise is a good goal to shoot for everyday. For brain health it may take even less than that.
The Mayo Clinic’s team of researchers say that getting into a good habit doesn’t have to start with intensity. 10 to 15 minutes of movement everyday is enough to start your brain down the right path.
Once you identify the things you like to do, exercise will become less of a burden physically and mentally. Doing the sports and the workouts that you enjoy will also help your brain develop a habit.
#3) Forming Those Good Habits
Habits actually trick the brain into doing the things that are good for your body, but don’t believe the 21 day myth.
Some believe that it only takes the brain 21 days to form a good habit, but really it’s a much more complicated process then that. It truly takes determination to stick with a life change.
A study analyzed by Forbes Magazine outlines what really helps build the brain’s ability to form a habit. It starts with finding your motivation and fighting through every impulse to revert to the bad things you were doing. Making something second nature takes lots of fight, and sometimes a lot of failure before it sticks.
#4) Baby Steps to Physical & Mental Health
Here are some things to try on your journey to a better you.
- Get up and move. Walk or run, just don’t keep your butt planted on that couch.
- Get regular sleep and stick to a schedule that makes sense. No matter how much you workout, your body still needs time to recover and rest. Regular sleep will keep you fighting for those habits you want to form
- Reach out and connect with people who live active lifestyles. By teaming up with people you like, you’ll be more likely to stick to the small goals you set for yourself. Run, bike or walk with a group and talk about your milestones when you struggle to reach them.
Do you find any of these tips helpful? Weight loss and mental health are linked whether we like it or not, so anytime we can take care of one we are taking care of the other in some way or another. Please tell us about your own findings, tips, ideas, experiences, and any other information you care to share with the rest of us!