Exercise for Mental Health
Written: BRENDA LIRA MIRANDA, MSW
There is a lot of information and discussion around exercise as a way to lose weight, enhance body aesthetics, and/or for medical health benefits. However, there is little awareness or information that focuses on the connection between mental health and exercise. In my personal and professional experience, physical exercise improves mental health, medical health, and quality of life.
It is very common for individuals who are experiencing mental health illness such as: depression, anxiety, stress, marital/parenting problems etc. to not exercise due to having little to no desire, time, motivation or energy. However, studies have shown that regular exercise improves mental health by decreasing anxiety, negative mood, depression, tiredness, and improves sleep, endurance, mood, sexual interest, energy, self-esteem, cognitive function, and stress.
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine does not have to be difficult or complicated. Here are some suggestions to inspire you to take action and increase your mental health, energy, and vitality.
1. Plan and schedule your workouts ahead of time etc: date, time, and activities and you will increase the likelihood of following through by 50%
2. Ask for support: you can have a workout buddy that holds you accountable and supports you along the journey
3. Exercise because you love, honor, and respect your mind, body, and spirit
4. 15-30 min workouts can be highly effective, you don’t need to work out for 2 hours to get the benefits
5. Exercise because you love, honor, and respect your mind, body, and spirit
I believe that exercise is essential for treating mental health illnesses and in addition to other treatment modalities, I strongly encourage all of my clients to incorporate exercise into their daily routine to maximize their healing process and increase their quality of life. The first step to change is to be willing to get outside of our comfort zone so that we can achieve what we truly desire. Take the first step, get your body moving and you will feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Written: BRENDA LIRA MIRANDA, MSW, LICENSE CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER #78721
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