You already know how good exercise is for your physical health. But you might be surprised by how good exercise is for your mental health. Studies show that for treating mild-moderate depression, exercise can be as effective as talking therapy and medication.
There are many ways that exercise positively influences your mental health:
To reap these benefits, it’s generally recommended you do 30 minutes of ‘vigorous’ exercise at least five times a week. Vigorous just means you’re putting in enough effort that it’s hard to have a conversation while you’re exercising.
Don’t get disheartened if these guidelines feel unachievable. It’s important to remember that while more exercise is better than less – any exercise is better than no exercise.
Of course, the hardest part is getting started. Especially if you’re experiencing a mental health condition like depression, where the idea of just getting out of bed can seem hard enough. Exercise can play a major part in and should be in your treatment or management plan.
If you’re waiting for motivation to arrive at your doorstep before you start exercising, you might be waiting a long time. The secret truth of motivation is that it actually comes after you take action – not before. By starting small and experiencing some benefits, you give motivation a chance to turn up and it loves riding on the momentum you’re building.
If you’re feeling stuck, here are six tips for starting an exercise routine from scratch.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself if you haven’t exercised for a while. For many, this can trigger self-critical thoughts that lead to giving up the exercise routine entirely.
Treat each day as a fresh start, and remind yourself that it’s human to drop the ball occasionally.