The importance of exercise programs for mental health is no secret, but mustering the strength to get going is what one needs to learn. If you’re wondering how to start reaping the mental health benefits of working out, you’ve come to the right place.
Firstly, you don't need to devote hours of your daily schedule to sweat buckets, run a mile or train at a gym. A minimum duration of thirty minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is sufficient. This, too, can be broken down into two 15 minutes sessions or three 10-minute sessions.
Remember that even a bit of exercise is better than nothing, and the more you exercise, the more energy you'll gain. This will help you keep going, and eventually, you'll be ready to meet the exercise goals.
It is hard to motivate oneself to work out even at the best of times. Struggling with a mental health disorder increases this difficulty manifolds. Especially in the case of anxiety or depression, where one knows that exercise will help them, but feel handicapped due to the symptoms of the disorders- depression making one lethargic and anxiety clouding the brain with overwhelming thoughts of being seen working out.
Here’s what you can do to break through this catch-22 situation:
Start small. Set small and achievable goals and build up from them. Setting up extravagant goals such as working out for an hour or completing a marathon when you've just begun your fitness journey will make you feel despondent about failing to meet them.
Schedule workouts when your energy levels are high. Observe when your energy levels match your spirits to work out. It could be early in the morning, midday, or even night. You can schedule your workout then to reap the most from your workout. Make the most of it; it doesn't need to be a tedious workout at the gym; you can break into a dance or go for a walk. Even a brief walk can help you calm your nerves and alleviate stress caused by mental disorders.
Incorporate fun activities. Any activity that gets one moving is counted as physical activity. If you cycle your way to the grocery store or window shop in a huge mall or play fetch with your dog- these are all activities that one might enjoy. These help individuals get going and feel a sense of accomplishment despite their disorders.
Choose A Comforting setting. Look for a calming and energising setting, wear comfortable clothes to aid the workout.
Reward yourself. Completing a workout in itself is rewarding; you can add an extra reward such as a delicious treat, a spa session, or an episode of your favourite web series. This will enhance your motivation to work out. A similar approach is followed in the contingency management of Mental health counselling services, where an individual is motivated to repeat a desirable behaviour by offering them rewards.
Make exercise a social activity. Joining an exercise program for mental health with a companion will make it more enjoyable and help you stick to the routine. Having a companion when you're struggling with depression is equally important as exercise.
Exercise programs for mental health are not limited to improving mental disorders; exercise also boosts mood and well-being. It can help provide:
Sharper memory and thinking. The endorphins released during working out help one concentrate better. Exercise stimulates the growth of brain cells and prevents age-related degeneration.
Higher self-esteem. Regular exercise helps boost one's confidence and self-image. When you meet your exercise goals, you feel a sense of accomplishment that further builds one's self-worth.
Better sleep. Exercise can regulate sleep patterns. You can stick to yoga or stretching if you want to exercise post-evening.
More energy. Healthily increasing heartbeat several times a week helps individuals feel energised in the long run.
Stronger resilience: Exercise builds resilience among individuals to deal with stressors healthily without taking on drugs or alcohol. Regular exercise also strengthens one's immune system and reduces the impact of stress. The best mental health disorder treatment incorporates regular exercise in yoga or breathing exercises to help individuals holistically.
Think of working out as a lifestyle rather than a check on your to-do list, experiment with physical activities to make it fun, and dive in straight away to feel better and reap the most out of life.