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How to Take Care of Your Mental Health and Stay Fit at the Same Time

Taking care of your mental health and staying fit go hand-in-hand. Among the many mental health tips commonly mentioned is to stay active and exercise, while improved mental health is one of the well-known benefits of exercise. Staying fit is a form of self-care and should be part of a balanced life for improved mental and physical health.

Staying Fit and Happy

According to the National Institutes of Health, exercise has a positive impact on mental health by helping alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Other benefits of exercise include improved cognitive function, which is imperative for learning, problem-solving and reasoning, as well as self-esteem and confidence. As you can see, mental health and fitness are interrelated.

But if you want to take care of your mental health, you don’t need to vigorously exercise every day. Instead, make a goal to do something each day to contribute to your mental health and fitness by choosing activities that you will stick with.

The following are some mental health tips that will help you stay fit.

Have Fun.

Exercise and staying fit do not have to be excruciating or even a chore. There are numerous ways to have fun while getting or staying fit with fun activities such as dancing or biking. Even jogging and walking can be fun if you incorporate a virtual race from places like Yes.Fit that will take you on the same trek as or following the path of the These races are done at your own pace and you benefit with rewards and the ability to keep track of your progress, which of course, is a great way to stay motivated.

Cardio Exercise

Or aerobic exercise, includes activities that increase your heart rate for an extended amount of time. These types of exercises are often associated with weight loss, but other benefits include decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression while reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

So, what cardio exercises will help you stay fit while taking care of your mental health? The best approach is anything that you feel good doing that gets your heart rate going. Walking, jogging, running, swimming and biking are all activities that one can do to get fit and improve your mental state.

Doing these activities in nature provides an added benefit that some have dubbed ecotherapy, or a formal treatment of doing activities in the great outdoors to improve mental health.

Strength training

Has been long known to improve mental health, hence the old saying, “strong body, strong mind.It can boost your mental energy and focus as you focus on your muscles, and can release endorphins to boost your mood. In addition, muscles help you appear leaner while lowering your risk of injury, and can have a positive impact on self-esteem, which contributes to a more positive outlook and emotional wellbeing.

Make a goal to incorporate a strength training routine for 20 minutes, twice a week to see results. And just like cardio, these exercises can be done outdoors for an added mental health bonus, as many parks provide circuit training equipment with guides on how to do them.

To be considered a discipline that combines body and mind into one practice, which is performed through a series of poses. The poses strengthen and stretch the muscles and may incorporate breathing techniques called pranayama. Many enthusiasts partake in yoga on a regular basis for stress reduction and as a way to get fit, and some yoga classes are offered in parks today, adding another dimension of mental health benefits.

Tai chi

Is a practice in which one performs a series of movements for strength, balance and oxygen intake. Another form of mind body meditation, this widely used martial art has become extremely popular for its mental health benefits like lowered stress, anxiety and depression as well as gaining flexibility and balance. And if there aren’t any classes in your nearby park, look online for a convenient way to incorporate this exercise into your daily routine.

Meditation

A mental practice with numerous benefits including stress management, as well as management of anxiety and depression symptoms. Interestingly, those who meditate regularly enjoy improved immune system health as well as improvements in mood and memory. The great thing about meditation is there are many ways to practice, and can be as simple as sitting quietly for 5-10 minutes while focusing on your breathing as you allow your mind to take a break from the stresses of the day.

Mindfulness

The act of paying attention to the present moment only, including your thoughts, feelings and actions, while being aware of your surroundings. This has become widely used as a therapeutic technique for managing stress and depression. Some practitioners feel this is another form of meditation that can be done while you are actively involved in movement and enjoying the benefits of exercise.

Remember that staying fit involves both physical and mental fitness and one impacts the other. Choose a few items from the list and see if you can spend at least 10 minutes on each. Some activities will help you feel better right after, while others have an impact that builds over time, which is why it is always good to have a long-term and short-term strategy.

Getting fit is one of the best ways to begin taking care of your mental health. The mind body connection is strong and goes way beyond improved self-esteem, as exercise has many hidden benefits like improved hormonal balance which impacts mental health.

The best way to get started is to begin today, and if you already have a fitness practice you follow and want to focus more on mental health, change up your routine with a practice you haven’t tried, yet.

Persistence pays off and it is possible to enjoy both mental and physical fitness.