Taking care of your physical needs is the first step to good mental health. Given the close connection between the mind and body, neglecting your physical health affects both areas.
An active lifestyle matters, as much as a healthy sleep schedule and a balanced diet. In addition to the physical benefits it brings, exercising also renews our mind and helps our body release endorphins and serotonin, the feel-good hormones in our body.
You can experience those benefits when you regularly do workouts that get your heart pumping and muscles burning. These exercises can be uncomfortable though, which might discourage some people from working out at all. Even though this might be the case, don’t worry—there are still other ways to stay active and improve your mental health.
Firstly, get up and walk around your neighbourhood or the park. Don’t underestimate walking as an exercise just because it’s simple. Walking at least 30 minutes a day has been shown to improve blood circulation, joint health, muscle toning, and the release of endorphins in the body.
On your walk, you can listen to music, audiobooks, and podcasts, have phone conversations with friends or family or even admire and observe the new or familiar environments around you. Here’s a tip: avoid doing anything work-related to keep your mind from associating walking with working.
Secondly, stretching is another way to incorporate movement into your lifestyle. Whether you work a labour-intensive or desk-bound job, daily stretching eases tension and knots in your muscles and reduces stiffness, improving your overall mood and quality of sleep.
Besides improving your range of motion and flexibility, studies show that stretching also increases serotonin levels. This hormone stabilises your mood and promotes blood circulation, complementing the effects of a walk.
To get the most out of a deep stretch, it’s essential to practice both static and dynamic stretches. If you’re lost and don’t know where to start, YouTube has many videos on different stretching routines that focus on various body parts with varying intensities that you can try.
Alternatively, you can switch things up by taking up a new sport or physical craft. Studies show that trying a new sport or honing a new skill promotes positive brain growth, stimulating you intellectually, emotionally, and physically, which might be the extra incentive you need to get your body moving.
The challenge and novelty of a new sport or activity can also help to take your mind off stressful pre-existing concerns, giving you something to look forward to after a long day at work or on the weekends. On top of that, attending a class for a new sport offers you the opportunity to widen your social circle too, which makes exercising less mundane while you’re at it.
Credit: Adedance Aerial
For instance, Adedance Aerial (#01-15) offers various aerial and stretching classes to accommodate your interest, skill and schedule. With a small class size and trained instructors for focused sessions, you don’t have to worry about feeling lost or left hanging!
To sum up, everyone’s body is different; finding what works best for you is key to keeping to a regular exercise schedule and reaping the holistic benefits of physical activity. The first steps are always the hardest, but trust us, you’ll thank yourself in the future.