In today’s world of stress and hectic schedules we seem to be hearing more and more about the need to look after our mental health. So how can you take steps to care for your mental and emotional wellbeing? One step you may not have thought of is to look after your physical health. Yes people who care for their fitness often benefit from improved mental health and you can too! Let’s discuss why fitness and mental health go hand in hand.
How Will Fitness Affect My Mental Health?
A consistent fitness and exercise programme has been proven to reduce such things as depression and anxiety whilst working to improve self-esteem and beneficial sleep.
I Feel Down And Tired, How Do I Motivate Myself To Exercise?
Good question! Think stepping stones as your route to success. Setting of on an early morning five kilometre run may only serve to discourage you even more. Instead initially set yourself an easy goal that only challenges you a little. Perhaps it’s a fifteen minute walk in the evening, one length at your local swimming pool or a gentle cycle around your neighbourhood.
Don’t stop there though! Once you are steady on the first stepping stone look out for second one. Can you increase that walk to twenty minutes? Instead of one length can you try two, or three? Or perhaps that bike ride can include a few steeper hills or extra distance? Whatever stepping stone you choose make it far enough to challenge you, but close enough to be attainable. Slowly but surely you will find yourself craving your fitness plan rather than dreading it!
Aim To Be Outdoors Not Indoors
Joining a gym or following a fitness DVD at home can be both beneficial and enjoyable. However if your fitness focus involves caring for your mental health, then opt for physical activities that you can engage in outdoors. Nature with its lush greenery, pretty flowers and clean air can lift your mood and spirits just as much as the exercise that you’re engaging in.
So choose an activity that you can enjoy outdoors whether it be walking, cycling, hiking or enjoying an outdoor game with friends of family. Remember when you are outdoors that nature has an indescribable ability to both make you feel alive and soothe your tired and weary mind. So look around yourself, admire the beauty, enjoy the bird song and promise yourself to keep this fitness programme as a consistent part of your schedule.
If you enjoy a little exercise indoors then at least try to couple it with an outdoor activity. Why not aim for one swimming sessions a week, plus one outdoor walk or cycle? Interestingly, of all the indoor sports swimming has a wonderful ability to relax the mind and muscles. If you have an outdoor lake, ocean or pool near where you live why not have the best of both worlds and go for an outdoor swim in nature?
Whichever fitness option you choose remember that you’re not just working to a greater physical health, but you’re protecting your precious mental and emotional wellbeing too!