Experts say that regular physical activity helps to maintain and improve mental wellbeing. They suggest that exercise can be used to help lessen the effects of mental health conditions. The studies conducted have shown, that even a short brisk walk can increase our mental alertness and positive mood. Whilst research is still in early stages, studies in the past few years have shown that taking part in regular physical activity has a direct effect on reducing stress and anxiety, it has even been shown to help depression sufferers.
Exercise is thought to cause positive chemical changes in the brain, with the release of chemicals like Dopamine, the reward chemical. The positive effects of these chemicals can make people feel better and improve mood after working out. Another way exercise is thought to help is by improving confidence. When you partake in exercise, over time, you get better at the activity or sport. This gives you a sense of achievement and progress, increasing self-esteem and confidence in the long term not only just after exercising.
Some people use solo exercises, such as going to the gym or jogging, as a form of ‘me-time’ to relax. Especially for introverts, this can be a time to reset and have a break from others. However, if this isn’t your kind of thing and you prefer being social, team sports or gym classes, such as Pilates, can be a good form of social exercise to meet new people, and have fun whilst you work out.
But don’t worry there are lots of ways to exercise without going for a jog. The best way to sustainably get into physical activity is to find an activity you enjoy doing! Whether it’s a team sport, swimming or a dance class, all are beneficial to your health. If you are just starting out and want to try a lighter form even some lighter exercises like stretching and yoga can be very beneficial.