Moving your Body & Reshaping Your Mental Health
What is the connection between physical and mental health?
Your mental and physical health are closely linked. The condition of your mental well-being can have a big influence on your physical health, whether for better or worse. Would you attempt to improve your mental health if you knew that your emotional health had this much impact on your general wellness? Depression is one of the most common medical issues resulting from stress and poor mental wellbeing. Positive mental well-being may aid in the prevention of illnesses such as heart attacks and strokes by maintaining a healthy mind.
One study found, “There is a strong link between mental health and physical health”. After analyzing the direct and indirect effects on mental health from physical health, they looked at data from 10,693 individuals aged 50 years and over from six waves (2002–2012) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and found “significant direct and indirect effects for both forms of health, with indirect effects explaining 10% of the effect of past mental health on physical health and 8% of the effect of past physical health on mental health. Physical activity is the largest contributor to the indirect effects. There are stronger indirect effects for males in mental health (9.9%) and for older age groups in mental health (13.6%) and in physical health (12.6%).”
How can physical activity help anxiety and depression?
Although working out when you feel anxious or depressed doesn’t seem like the answer, it absolutely is! Finding the motivation to exercise can make a huge difference in your overall health. Exercise can not only prevent several health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and more, but it can also help with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety and improve your overall mood as well.
So how exactly does exercise help?
Exercising regularly can help your mental health state by…
Releasing endorphins – “your feel” good brain chemicals that enhance your sense of well being
Relieve stress – clears your mind and allows you to break free from negative thoughts that are affecting your mental health
Gives you Confidence – by accomplishing your exercise goals, you’ll find a sense of purpose and accomplishment that will allow you to feel good about yourself and carry yourself better in social situations.
Learning how to Manage – by teaching yourself and getting in the habit of coping with your depression or anxiety in a healthy way, you grow as a person and feel better internally.
Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression, “suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout. Some studies show that exercise can work quickly to elevate a depressed mood in many people. Although the effects may be temporary, they demonstrate that a brisk walk or other simple activity can deliver several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache.”