How exercise encourages a healthy mind

Healthy Living > Mental health > How exercise encourages a healthy mind


Blog Article | By The Simplyhealth Team | 19 July 2022

The NHS website says that people who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many chronic conditions, like diabetes. As we know, exercise is great for our health anyway, especially for those who suffer from stress and anxiety. At Simplyhealth, we love encouraging people to exercise, whether it’s a marathon or a stroll down the road.

Exercise away your stress

Some of us may have anxiety around our finances, the rising cost of living, and the impact of the war in Ukraine. That’s without balancing the pressures of high work expectations with a busy family life, which can take its toll on your mind as well as your body. That has different effects on different people.

We should ask ourselves, what can I do to maintain a healthy mind? Practising mindfulness techniques and eating well can boost your wellbeing, as can exercise. Bestselling author and resilience thought-leader  Liggy Webb lists morning exercise in her top 10 ways to stay healthy, from both a physical and mental perspective.

Move to boost your mood

As well as helping people who suffer from mild depression, exercise can help relieve anxiety by increasing serotonin. This is a chemical which is responsible for maintaining mood balance. The Mental Health Foundation confirms that even a short burst of exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on your mood, and physical activity can be very effective in relieving stress.

Regular exercise can help make you feel happier and more positive, so try to set aside some time to get out on your bike with your family now and again, or go for a run in the evening. 

Your running route to happiness

One way to get up and out? Fitness trackers. There are so many apps and devices now, even just on your phone, that can track how far you're going, how long you're out for, and the route you go. This gives a sense of gamification, like the couch to 5k challenge. It can give you the momentum to head out into the open air and will be evidence that you can do it.

Boost your brainpower

An active body means an active mind. When you exercise, the heart pumps more blood around the body; more oxygen reaches different parts. Studies show that active children can focus better during lessons and perform to a higher standard with English and maths.

Leading a sedentary lifestyle is neither good for your body or your mind. Studies show that exercise can considerably improve anxiety and mild depression, saving many people from needing prescription drugs. So, making time for some daily exercise such as going for a long walk can really help give your wellbeing a boost.

Get a better night’s sleep

How well do you sleep every night? Do you go to bed at a regular time? Sleep deprivation impacts productivity and definitely makes people more irritable. And we can all be guilty of going to bed a bit later than we should.  

There are many factors which could be affecting your sleep, including stress, drinking caffeine in the evening, looking at your phone straight before bed, or leading a sedentary lifestyle. These can lead to insomnia, where you may have trouble getting to sleep, you sleep lightly, repeatedly wake up throughout the night, or still feel tired when you awake in the morning.

Research found sleep increases happiness, liveliness, and concentration throughout the day, which means it's worth finding out how to sleep better.

Mental and physical health are equally important

Start with a simple routine

You’re the biggest beneficiary when it comes to investing your health and wellbeing. After all, you have the most control when it comes to what you eat, what exercise you do, and how often you do it. And, it’s never too late to increase the amount you exercise. If you know your lifestyle could be more active, then why not start by counting your steps? There are loads of apps to help you reach your target too.

What if you’re feeling like something a bit more intense? It doesn’t have to be a marathon. In fact, sprinting in between jogging is great for improving your fitness and metabolism. After a stressful day, you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed.

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