How often do you exercise?
Twice a week? Everyday?
Or not at all?
We all know that exercise is an important component to implement in our daily lives to help us stay healthy. However, we aren’t incorporating exercise into our daily routines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of the population engages in sports and exercise on an average day.
What about the other 80%?
We aren’t exercising enough and it is something that we need to do every day or at least a few times a week to not only keep us in shape but also help us maintain our mental health.
Did you know that regular exercise improves mental health by:
· Reducing depression, anxiety, and negative moods.
· Providing distraction from negative thoughts
· Increasing energy levels
· Helping with having better sleeping patterns
· Reducing stress
· Improving memory
· Improving self-confidence
As you can see, exercise doesn’t only help you attain that summer body. It helps us be in a better mood and keeps our brain active. If you’re not part of that 20% of the population that goes out and exercises on a regular basis, then what can you do to start exercising?
Starting little by little is key.
Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or take a long time. Think about the activities you like or enjoy doing…
If you don’t know then that’s okay!
Maybe you can start by walking 15 minutes every day and gradually increasing that time. In fact, studies show that walking 20 minutes 3 times a week gives tangible benefits.
Now That You’re Ready To Consider Some Ideas
There are many types of exercises that you can engage in (ex. hiking, swimming, running, etc.) that don’t require money. If you don’t know how to do an exercise, no problem. You can always google it or go on youtube. If you are able to pay for a monthly membership, then maybe trying out the gym nearest you. Most gyms offer classes and if you happen to have extra money to spend then maybe you can get a personal trainer too.
Make It A Social Activity
When we make our goals public, it tends to make us more accountable, does it not? You can use this to your advantage.
Try asking a friend to join you or joining a running group. Having social support can help with getting out and being active. Challenge yourself.
Put It On Social Media So Your Friends Will Hold You Accountable And Cheer You On!
We’re kidding, right? Actually no.
“Research has shown that sharing a goal publicly not only promotes accountability but helps one stay focused, and dramatically increases one’s chance of success. Announcing a goal via social media and regularly posting about it promotes accountability to others, creating positive reinforcement from friends and stimulating an online “social support system” which may lead the aspirant to form or join other communities dedicated to similar pursuits.”
From: “7 Ways Social Media Can Benefit Mental Health“
This is a classic case of “positive emotional contagion.”
Next time you go on Facebook or Instagram I’m not suggesting that you post a selfie of yourself. Just state your goal. For example, you might say that you’re making a weekly commitment to walking 20 minutes 3 times a week, and leave it at that!
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There’s no right or wrong on how to start or the types or kinds of exercises you should do. The important thing is making the time, getting up, and doing it!
If you have a medical condition that limits your physical activity, then it is very important for you to speak to your doctor first and explore exercises that you are able to do.
Push yourself and keep motivated! Only you can make the necessary positive changes that will benefit your body and mind.
Remember that regular exercise is an important habit to incorporate into your daily routine to help you with your mental health and overall well-being.
Go out there and have a great workout!
1. Peluso, M. A. M., & Andrade, L. H. S. G. D. (2005). Physical activity and mental health: the association between exercise and mood. Clinics, 60(1), 61-70.
2. Taylor, C. B., Sallis, J. F., & Needle, R. (1985). The relation of physical activity and exercise to mental health. Public health reports, 100(2), 195.
3. Woods, Rose A. (2017). Sports & Exercise. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.