Mental Health x Exercise
The last 20 years has shown more and more documentation of the association between exercise and mental well-being. Evidently, there has been an absence in the use of exercise to help with mental health. However, in recent times, the push for the awareness of mental health in society has been greater than it ever has. So, lets push for the use of exercise to help support mental health. Studies have shown that individuals with depression, anxiety and eating disorders (along with other mental disorders) saw positive effects on their mental health upon completing exercise.
There are a few common psychological benefits of exercise: improved mood, reduced stress, ability to cope with stress, improved self-esteem and increased feelings of energy, just to name a few. There are also many reasons why people feel they don’t/can’t participate in sport – lack of access, social stigma, lack of role models, lack of understanding, low confidence and again, many more. But if you can help with understanding the ‘why’ behind someone’s decision, you can help them figure out the ‘how’ to solve it. If you can’t help, then you have the power to point them in the direction of someone who can.
Exercise doesn’t need to be necessarily long, or repetitive for that matter. A short 20-minute HIIT session can be effective, a short 20-minute run, a walk, gym if you like. But if you can get out and exercise or, at least, complete some physical activity – it can benefit you both physically and psychologically. We believe that psychological and physiological changes occur hand in hand, improving psychologically can help you physiologically and vice versa. What you must remember is that you are all different. Your friend may like doing exercise at 6am, you may like to wait until 7pm. Someone you know may like 20-minutes of intense HIIT, you may enjoy a 30-minute run. This is okay, no comparison is good comparison. The only person you’re trying to better is yourself.
As we said earlier on, In recent years, exercise and mental health has been pushed, particularly on social media, with the help of big social influences speaking openly about their struggles and battles with mental health. This is only the start of understanding how we can help each other directly and indirectly. There still needs to be more done to improve the awareness of mental health and the use of exercise to help mental health. The day exercise is prescribed as medicine for mental health before medication is prescribed to help mental health will be a monumental day in moving forward allowing the physical elements of life support the psychological ones. Some unreal charities have began to help merge the two factors together, check them out below:
Sport in Mind – https://www.sportinmind.org
Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/
Sane – http://www.sane.org.uk/home
Wesport – http://www.wesport.org.uk/
Heads Together – https://www.headstogether.org.uk,