Exercises To Improve Mental Health

 

Having a hobby is helpful for those that struggle with mental health. Giving yourself an activity is a positive way to distract your mind from troubling thoughts or stressful situations. Each person needs some sort of outlet for their emotions, and the ten activities below will hopefully spark you to start something new. 

Over time, as humans, we fall into unproductive habits, which can deter any improvements to mental health. Start by dedicating a few hours each week to whichever hobby you see fit.  Instead of watching TV or sitting on your phone, try to get active with these activities. 

Read Positive Books

If you hate reading, you will never accept reading as an exercise for the brain. Reading is a great mental exercise for your brain. It challenges your mind to gives you a deeper insight into the realms of imagination and different worlds. 

The only precaution you must take is to choose the right books. Pick up true-life stories, old classics, or some fantastic adventure tales. One of the best books to read to overcome mental illness is self-help books or religious texts. These books will rekindle the faith in you and help you view life from a new perspective. 

Swimming

Swimming daily for 30 minutes is a proven way to improve your enthusiasm and stamina. If you are a weak swimmer, throw little challenges for yourself in the pool. Your brain will accept these little challenges and will go a long way in improving your mental health. The regulation of breath in swimming is another proven therapy for the mind and is excellent for the lungs.

Weight Training

Get active and join a gym; even better if you have a personal trainer. In more than 80% of cases, people who were not happy with their bodies had signs of mental illness. A healthy body keeps a healthy mind.

If your gym is closed due to the corona pandemic, you can do regular exercise at home. Get some equipment and weights or join an online fitness program and get going. One of the many benefits of exercise is that it reduces stress and eating disorders which are major culprits of deteriorating mental health conditions. 

Cycling

Pull out your old bike and get it functional. Even better if you will buy a new one with all the latest gadgets and attachments. At least four to five days a week, regular biking will keep your mind and body fit. You can choose a traditional route or even a cross-country route. 

On weekends you can even plan a long bike trail. Plugin your earbuds, play your favorite music as you explore the beautiful valleys, ravines, and landscapes. Get attached to nature, feel it and let your mind heal. These simple yet effective things have proven miraculously effective in bipolar disorder and combating depression and anxiety. 

Dance

Dance is a simple exercise for entertainment and fitness. But dance evolves from the core of your feelings directly linked to your brain impulse. Dance is mainly related to a sense of happiness, rhythm of your mind, and projection of your soul.

Join a dance class, learn how to portray your emotions and expression in the form of dance. With every little step of accomplishment, you will regain your self-confidence and pride. It is even easy to do a dance class from the comfort zone of your home.

Pick Up A Sport

Sports are an incredible way to stay active and boost your mental energy level. Sports and games teach teamwork, enthusiasm, discipline, and focus. Research shows that people who actively participate in any sport or game have fewer chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Pick up your favorite game; tennis, baseball, basketball, or any other you prefer. Get active and get involved for at least four days a week.

Walking Or Running

The most basic, without any equipment and at no cost, running and walking is one of the most effective exercises. If your knees and back are intact and age is with you, running for 30 minutes is the perfect exercise. However, walking is also as effective as running for people above 40 years.

Health experts suggest walking or running daily for 30 minutes activates all your glands. Lack of hormones or excessive production causes mood swings and mental imbalance. Inculcate these simple changes in your lifestyle to improve mental health. Skip the treadmill and move outdoors for better results.

Pilates

Pilates is another great way to improve your core strength and mental strength. Pilates is a superb exercise for stress reduction and calming your mind. Pilates primarily focuses on breathing and relaxation, which boosts the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. 

Ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese concept for a meaningful idea of life. It is moving towards a direction for a sense of achievement and taking actions for mental satisfaction. Your Ikigai is interlinking four main subjects – what you love doing, what you are good at, how you can contribute to the world, and how it affects you. 

Here is a quick guide to the Ikigai exercise.

  • Take 30 minutes to reflect upon yourself and write down what you need.
  • Write down all essential elements of all four subjects as mentioned above.
  • Do light exercise every day for longevity. This specific exercise is called Radio Taiso exercise. You can quickly learn it online.

Yoga And Meditation

The classic yoga mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga sutra focuses on the eight stages of yoga. The first three are stages of fitness discipline and hygiene. The remaining five stages focus on breathing patterns, controlling your thoughts and mind, and ultimately reaching a meditative state.

Although many trainers teach meditation, the classic text describes meditation as a state of complete concentration achieved by regular practice. As you develop your confidence, increase the meditation gradually to 30 minutes. Nothing too complicated; pay close your eyes and focus on your breathing pattern. It is the number one proven method to improve your mental health. Just try it with discipline for 21 days, and you will feel the change.

Conclusion

If you are young and active, you can pick up any high-intensity activity. The best ways to combat mental illness are to socialize with friends and family, learn new skills, walk daily, and learn the Ikigai exercise. You have so many activities that you can indulge in throughout your week. Make plans for yourself and start to become more active. Over time you will notice a drastic change in your mental health.