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Exercise and Your Mental Health – It Makes the Difference.

January 17, 2019 | Posted By: Christopher James In Fitness

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For so long mental health has been something that people avoid talking about. Maybe you think that if they ignore it, it will just get better. We all struggle with our mindset, self-talk, and overall mental health in one way or another. If you don’t today, you may tomorrow. The important thing is to remember you aren’t alone, you should talk about it, and there are things you can do about it.

According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), “Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.” You aren’t alone. You aren’t the only one who may be dealing with depression, anxiety, addiction, or one of other mental Illnesses out there. It’s important to remember as well that as we age we become more susceptible to mental illnesses including dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. 

The most important thing to remember is that you can take control. You can take action and impact your current and future mental health. You are just steps away from changing your mental health for the better. 

How? 

What can you do to impact your current and future mental health?

It’s simple. Move. Exercise. 

How can exercise affect your mental health?

Studies have shown that exercise can impact mental health in multiple ways. There is significant evidence that regular exercise can significantly change one’s mental health and impact your overall quality of life. Some of the benefits to your mental health when you exercise regularly include, but certainly are not limited to, the following:

  • Reduction of Stress 
  • Increased Release of Endorphins 
  • Improved Neuronal Health
  • Increased Blood Flow to the Brain
  • Creation of Neurons within the hippocampus (Neurogenesis)
  • Improved Self-Esteem
  • Improved Sleep

How much exercise do you need to impact your mental health?

There are many different opinions out there about how much exercise you “need”. The general recommendation that we suggest to our clients is that you participate in physical activity for at least 30 – minutes per day most days of the week. Notice, however, that you should allow for rest and recovery. Participating in moderate to high intensity exercise will require you to give your body a change to recover, so exercising 3-5 days per week is what we suggest for most individuals. 

In regards to mental health, you can check out this article that we found on MedicalNewsToday.com  where the author highlights:

“The researchers found that the participants who benefited most in terms of mental health were those who exercised for 30–60 minutes three to five times per week.”

What types of exercise benefit mental health the most?

The key, when you start, is to get moving. Do something. Anything. If you start with 15-minutes of exercise and all you can do is walk, then that’s what you should do. 

As you build up your endurance, strength and begin to form a habit you can start to increase your duration and intensity of exercise choices. Though it’s true that any type of exercise is better than none, there is evidence that supports the thought that your mental health could be better served by participating in some forms of exercise over others. 

Ensuring there is an aerobic component to your fitness routine will be vital for your mental health in the short and long-term. In their article, ‘Exercise for Mental Health’, Ashish Sharma, M.D.,  Vishal Madaan, M.D.,  Frederick D. Petty, M.D., Ph. D., state:

“Aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression.3 These improvements in mood are proposed to be caused by exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain and by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and, thus, on the physiologic reactivity to stress.”

We are here to help you!

Our trainers are available and ready to help you get started towards better mental health. We offer a number of options to meet each individual where they are at so you can reach your best results. Whether you are looking for one-on-one training or a group atmosphere, we can help. Contact us today and start improving your mental health today!

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