Physical activities to boost mental health
As we all know physical activity has a great benefit to your physical health. Depending on the activity you will be able to gain strength, get fitter and learn skills like teamwork through physical activity. Although great for your physical health, there are also many mental health benefits that you can gain by engaging in physical activities like sports or leisure activities. In this article we are going to be sharing the mental health benefits of some common activities and sports people do and would probably interest you.
Why pay attention to mental health?
For many years people have overlooked mental health and have not really paid any attention to preserving/improving it. In the past people with mental health disorders where just seen as out casts, weirdos or where locked up in homes and asylums. However, luckily for many modern science and technology has made it more possible to see what causes mental health issues and we are able to treat then effectively. As we are able to understand these disorders better it has made it easier diagnosing them, meaning people who would have gone there lives without help are now able to get it.
Your mental health is equally as important if not more than physical health as it is directly linked to daily functions and things like mood. Having poor mental health can decrease your mood and make you less motivated. They can also make you feel anxious and not like being around new people or in new places.
Although not seen by any as very physically demanding, doing yoga offers many benefits. As the activity is associated with peace in mind, there is no surprise that yoga is going to greatly benefit your mental health. Yoga has been proven to relieve stress, which can be a cause for many mental health issues. Elevated stress levels can also put you at a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or high blood pressure. So, if you believe stress is an issue and can be causing mental health issues, then hitting the yoga mat may not be such a bad idea.
Doing yoga has also been shown to relieve anxiety and help modulate stress response systems. This means you will also be able to deal with stress differently and will not get overwhelmed. The chance to meet new people can also be good for any social disorders, as you can build up a relationship with the people in your yoga class. These also reducing the chances of depression which is a very common mental disorder and is the reason for many people committing suicide.
Going to the gym
The gym is an environment that anyone who enjoys fitness can thrive in. Whether its lifting heavy weights or running on the treadmill the gym is a good place to engage in physical activity. Activities like lifting weight can offer great benefits for your mental health. Lifting releases endorphins that give you that feel good factor, these elevate mood and can relieve stress and anxiety. Strength training also has been shown to be more effective at boosting self esteem in the long term. Meaning you will be feeling good long after your workout.
The results of resistance training will also help reduce self – esteem and anxiety disorders. As you will gain more muscle you will be more confident in the way you look if you suffered from weight related anxiety. The proteins that are released because of resistance training are also known to boost cognitive function. This includes memory, logic, processing, and perception which will are important functions of your brain needed daily. This is the reason you may feel less agitated and like you can thing better after a workout.
When it comes to putting your body and mind to the test, boxing is a sport that will give you a run for your money. As you may already know boxing is a contact sport that you have to be physically and mentally strong to play. As you are at a great risk of losing your anger when playing boxing, this is a great way to treat anger issues and teach self-control. This will make you more rational when you get angry and get that adrenaline rush. Another mental benefit of boxing is that it makes you more motivated. As training involves heavily on a partner for sparring and pads, this makes you less likely to miss a session as you do not want to let your partner down. You are also likely to push yourself and someone else harder when working out together.
Boxing is also an excellent form of stress relief. Hitting a punch bag can relieve tension built up over time in your muscles. It can also help emotional stress as boxing releases endorphins that elevate your mood and relieve stress. These endorphins released can also reduce the risk of other mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
Many people don’t consider team sports when they are considering getting fit. These sports are ones played as a part of a team and include things like football, rugby and hockey. Being part of a team and having a connection with other people plays a great role in mental health. Being around people reduces the risk of you developing anxiety or depression that are mental disorders associated with being isolated and alone. You will also learn other key skills along the way like working as a team and leadership when doing team sports. These will always come in useful and will stay with you for life.
Although many team sports are different, they all do offer similar mental health benefits. A study was done looking at how playing a team sport effected anxiety. It concluded that playing a sport or being involved in a sport reduced the likeliness to be depressed. It also reduced the likeliness to do any drugs or stimulants that can harm your mental health. Also doing a team sport may not be for everyone, if you are a lone ranger that prefers to workout on your own then a team sport probably isn’t going to be your first decision for a form of exercise.
In conclusion, these are a few effective forms of physical activity that can improve your mental health and put you at a lower risk of developing any mental health disorders. In modern day life you body and mind are put under stress and may be pushed to there limits. As this is the case you have to make sure you are mentally fit as well as physically and we need to train and maintain our mind in the same way we train and condition our bodies with exercise and diet. So, one thing you need to keep in mind is your mental health and try and find a physical activity that you enjoy and believe is improving your mental and physical health.