Any form of physical activity is known to be good for our mental health, it releases endorphins which make us feel good. But which exercises are the best for our minds?
It is proven that if you exercise outside it can make you feel more relaxed and happy. If you don't want to do anything as strenuous as running or walking, what about gardening? It can also be a great way to boost vitamin d which in turn can improve your mood and sense of wellbeing.
Team sports are cited as they allow you to socially interact with others while you get fit. This could be any team sport like football or hockey.For many people the social side can be just as valuable as keeping your body in shape.You should be able to find team sports available where you live, either serious league team sports or just people having fun.
The benefits of swimming is that it is completely weight bearing so there is no pressure on your joints. If you therefore struggle with impact sports and fitness swimming may be perfect for you.The other benefit of swimming is that you can choose what you do in the pool. Some pools offer aqua aerobics which can also give you a more intensive workout.
Yoga again can be a great choice , it particularly provides you with a range of different forms of yoga to choose from. Vinyasa and Ashtanga are more physically demanding whereas Hatha and Yinare slightly more gentle.Yoga, if practised over time will help you become more flexible and supple and improve your flexibility.It can also help you to breathe properly which can help in the management of stress and anxiety.
Pilates is often seen as a great exercise for the mind as well as the body as the mind and body need to work together to get the muscle control, strength and flexibility required in Pilates.In fact the mental benefits of Pilates can be listed as reducing tension throughout the body, boosting endorphins, improving sleep patterns, releasing stress and frustration and lifting your mood.
The above activities should help your mental health. But what precisely does exercise do? Firstly it is proven that exercise will improve your mood.This has been found from studying people before and after exercise.Studies have also been done on the type of exercise that helps the most with mood and the conclusion seems to be that low intensity aerobic exercise 30-35 minutes was best at improving feelings of positivity.
Physical exercise, again in studies, is seen to lower stress, particularly the stress hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline.Exercise can also improve feelings of self esteem, essentially making us feel good about ourselves. Many people report a feeling of real achievement when they complete an exercise class or perform a physical activity.Exercise is also seen as a good thing to do to help delay the start of dementia and cognitive decline in the elderly. Finally, there is also research that physical activity can help fight deperession.Many doctors now suggest this alongside medication or in some cases in place of medication. The evidence is that physical activity helps reduce levels of anxiety.